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Business News/ Industry / IPL 8: 5 reasons why Mumbai Indians can’t seem to buy a win
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IPL 8: 5 reasons why Mumbai Indians can’t seem to buy a win

A formidable side on paper (as always), the Mumbai Indians have failed to deliver in the IPL since 2013, when they were crowned champions

A screen grab of Mumbai Indians website.Premium
A screen grab of Mumbai Indians website.

Just when you thought they had turned the corner with a win over Royal Challengers Bangalore last week, the Mumbai Indians have gone back into slump mode again. Their batsmen failed to chase down 191 on Thursday, after young Shreyas Iyer and captain JP Duminy starred for the Delhi Daredevils on their home ground, the Ferozeshah Kotla. The defeat was Mumbai Indians’ fifth in the six matches they’ve played this season.

A formidable side on paper (as always), the Mumbai Indians have failed to deliver in the Indian Premier League (IPL) since 2013, when they were crowned champions. And it’s not just this season. Last time around, in the first leg of the tournament, played in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), they lost their first five matches.

So what’s wrong with the Mumbai Indians—a franchise which the UK-based firm Brand Finance values at $48 million or, the 146th most valuable sports brand globally.

It’s not money, clearly, or the lack of it.

Injuries affecting their balance

While not an excuse, injuries haven’t helped the Mumbai Indians’ cause, dearly affecting their game plans and balance. In the auctions held earlier this year, they bought the explosive Australian opener Aaron Finch for Rs3.20 crores. Finch, who failed in Mumbai’s opening two games, was ruled out of the tournament with a hamstring injury he sustained against the Rajasthan Royals. If that wasn’t enough, New Zealand all-rounder Corey Anderson, a key member of the Mumbai squad, was also heading home with a fractured finger. Colin Munro, another New Zealander, was signed up as Anderson’s replacement.

Misfiring match-winners

Mumbai’s resurgence of sorts in the IPL, after a disastrous start in the first two seasons, was down to a playing XI filled with match-winners. Barring captain Rohit Sharma, all-rounder Keiron Pollard and to an extent Harbhajan Singh, their match-winners have grossly fallen short of expectations. Lasith Malinga, Mumbai’s talismanic fast bowler, is on the wane, and hasn’t yet delivered. Those toe-crushers from the Sri Lankan slinger, have been few and far in between, and with no fire-power to dish it out at the other end, the Malinga influence is waning. Likewise, Pollard’s brisk medium-pace (and change of pace), handy in the middle-overs, has again become a liability for the Mumbai Indians, with set batsmen targeting him for runs in the middle overs.

Indian talent not living up to the mark

The Mumbai Indians have chopped and changed their playing eleven quite a bit this season, and the bulk of the shuffling has involved Indian players. They began the tournament with Aditya Tare as their wicketkeeper and opening batsman, but some poor performances by the Mumbai Ranji captain, has led to him being replaced by Parthiv Patel. Likewise, in the bowling department, their Indian contingent hasn’t quite lived up to the mark. Vinay Kumar, Jagadeesha Suchith, Shreyas Gopal and Pragyan Ojha (with a remodelled action and half sleeve) haven’t delivered and made way for Hardik Pandya and Jasprit Bhumrah. Bumrah, who bowls with an unorthodox action, has struggled to make an impact in the tournament so far.

Over the hill stars

One of the key areas where Mumbai struggle, as compared to other franchises, is when it comes to legs in the field. While some of their youngsters and international players are excellent fielders, they’re forced to carry some of the older ones, owing to their abilities in some other disciplines. With age definitely not on their side, some of their players, notably Malinga and Harbhajan Singh, haven’t impressed on the field, giving away easy runs. With a batting side not exactly high on confidence, barring a few at the top, the fielders need to come to the party. So far they have been missing.

Lack of local players

While it may not be a season-specific issue, the city’s best talent is plying its trade in other franchises and making its mark with each passing match. Ajinkya Rahane, who began with the Mumbai Indians, is leading the way at the Rajasthan Royals, consistently churning out match-winning innings at the top. Likewise, Shreyas Iyer, who, plays for the Mumbai Ranji team, has been among the runs for his adopted team Delhi Daredevils. Surya Kumar Yadav, who had a tumultous reign as Mumbai’s Ranji Trophy captain earlier this year, has been giving the Kolkata Knight Riders the much-needed impetus in the middle-order. Yadav, like Rahane, represented Mumbai Indians in the past. Same with Pravin Tambe, Dhawal Kulkarni, Abhishek Nayar, Iqbal Abdulla, Shardul Thakur and Sarfaraz Khan. While losing these players is down to the auction process, Mumbai Indians haven’t made efforts to lure the best local talent to play for them.

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Published: 24 Apr 2015, 11:55 AM IST
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