Now that it’s more or less clear that IPL 2020 will take place in UAE, the first choice playing XI of various teams might change because the conditions in UAE will mostly assist the spinners and the grounds are huge, unlike India where the grounds are mostly small and a few pitches actually assist the fast bowlers more than the spinners.
Let’s talk about the ideal playing XI of the reigning champions Mumbai Indians if the IPL happens in UAE.
Openers (Quinton de Kock, Rohit Sharma)
Quinton de Kock is not among the greatest players of spin yet, but his main job in the MI XI is to attack the fast bowlers upfront and take full advantage of the fielding restrictions. Since he has the ability to clear the biggest of the grounds; he will undoubtedly be the first choice opener along with Rohit Sharma.
Rohit’s game is perfectly suited to the UAE pitches as he is one of the best players of spin going around at the moment. The last time he played in UAE in the Asia Cup 2018, he scored a fifty and a hundred in the two games against Pakistan. Rohit will not just be the captain, but also a key batsman for Mumbai in the UAE conditions.
Middle-order (Ishan Kishan, Suryakumar Yadav, Kieron Pollard)
Middle-order batting will be the tricky phase in UAE because the ball will get slightly older and will start sticking into the surface. It won’t be easy to hit through the line of the ball and teams will need players who can use their feet well.
Ishan Kishan and Suryakumar Yadav are the two players who can not only use their feet to get to the pitch of the ball, but they can also rock back and use the depth of the crease to play with horizontal bat. These two will bat at no. 3 and no. 4 for Mumbai respectively.
Kieron Pollard is one of those players who don’t necessarily need to time the ball perfectly to hit sixes. He has got so much muscle strength that he can force the ball over the fence with brute power.
A player like Pollard, who has got the power game, will be needed down the order in UAE as it will be very difficult to hit sixes just with good timing on those abrasive surfaces. Power game will be a necessity and Pollard, at no. 5, will bring that onto the table.
Pollard is, however, a certainty in the Mumbai Indians XI in all conditions, not just in UAE.
All-rounders (Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya)
Both Hardik and Krunal have got long levers and they can hit sixes against spin with ease. And they are also the floaters in the batting order. While they generally bat in the lower middle order, they have got the game to bat in the top 4 as well.
Krunal is the fifth bowler for Mumbai who bowls his quota of 4 overs in most of the games and although he is not a huge turner of the ball, his accuracy helps him induce the false shots off the batsmen.
Hardik doesn’t bowl his 4 overs all the time, but he is always there as an extra bowling option at Mumbai’s disposal.
Bowlers (Rahul Chahar, Trent Boult, Lasith Malinga, Jasprit Bumrah)
Rahul Chahar was probably the most impressive young Indian leggie in the last IPL. Because of the fact that he is very tall and spins the ball without necessarily giving the ball a lot of loops, he is a difficult bowler to face.
Boult, Malinga, and Bumrah form a near-perfect fast-bowling trio because they are completely different from each other.
While Boult is a conventional left-arm swing bowler, Malinga also swings the new ball with a slingy action. Malinga can then come back and bowl yorkers at the death too.
Bumrah is a hit the deck bowler and can extract seam movement off the deck early on. Apart from his ability to move the ball off the surface, Bumrah is also the best death bowler in the world at the moment.
With Boult, Malinga and Bumrah bowling in tandem in different phases of the innings, the batsmen will have nowhere to go.