Mumbai Indians won two IPL titles in the previous four-year mega-auction to mega-auction cycle from 2018 to 2021, taking their total tally to five IPL trophies – the most in the IPL history. They will have considered themselves unfortunate to be forced to release a number of players because of the retention rules.
Mumbai Indians have been known to do well at the auction table over the years. However, they didn’t this time, which is reflected clearly in their performances so far this season – 6 matches, 6 losses – and the fact that they have already used 16 players in 6 matches further highlights that they messed up a few aspects in the mega-auction.
Here are the three big mistakes that Mumbai Indians committed in the mega-auction:
Not getting a powerplay wicket-taking bowler
Basil Thampi, Jaydev Unadkat, Tilak Varma, Jasprit Bumrah, Daniel Sams – these are the bowlers who have bowled with the new ball for MI so far. It’s fair to say that none other than Bumrah have been able to swing or get seam movement to be able to threaten the opposition openers.
This is in stark contrast compared to the last couple of seasons when Mumbai Indians were a force to reckon with the new ball courtesy of Trent Boult. With Boult in action from one end, Bumrah became even more deadly; now, however, teams just play out Bumrah safely knowing they can comfortably take down other bowlers.
Wickets in the powerplay are the most important than any other stage in T20 cricket, and Mumbai Indians have failed to take those this season as both Unadkat and Sams have failed to do what had been expected of them based on their last couple of years.
Lack of experienced replacements for the Pandya brothers
Both Hardik and Krunal Pandya are doing very well for their new respective franchises while Mumbai Indians struggle to fill their shoes. Daniel Sams started off at number 7 in the all-rounder’s role of Hardik and had to be dropped after three matches because of poor death bowling and nothing much offered from the bat.
After that, MI have gone with a long tail in one of the games and a depth in batting in the other but still lost due to a lack of strength in the other aspect. Tilak Varma is a youngster and isn’t a slogger like Krunal is and also doesn’t give MI the 3-4 overs the Krunal used to regularly. You miss them once they are gone.
Jofra Archer’s acquisition
From MI’s auction strategy regarding Jofra Archer, who they bought for 8 crore, one thing is clear: they wouldn’t have minded having a below-par season this year because Jofra Archer was certain to miss. However, the franchise decision-makers wouldn’t have also thought they would be in such doldrums that they have scrap for even a single victory.
And as dreamy and mouth-watering prospect it is to see Archer and Bumrah in the same eleven, there is no guarantee that the England bowler will be fit and available for any of the next seasons either for various reasons.
Just so you remember: Yuzvendra Chahal, who now has 17 wickets in 6 matches, was bought by RR for 6.5 crore; Josh Hazlewood, who is having the time of his life in T20 cricket since last year, was bought by RR for 7.75 crore.
Mumbai Indians willingly decided to sacrifice their playoff chances – let alone win the trophy – this season when they bought Archer for a hefty sum while letting other high-quality Indian and overseas bowlers go. Archer, if fit and available next season, may help them win another title next season, but the downfall of the five-time champions this year has been painful for the fans who have picked up the habit of seeing their team win in the past 9 years.