Five-time champions Mumbai Indians finished, for the first time, at the bottom of the points table in IPL 2022. The Ambani-owned franchise rung in a spate of changes in their squad from last season and released as many as 13 players, including Kieron Pollard, who has now retired from IPL and is their new batting coach.
Players released by Mumbai Indians (MI): Kieron Pollard (retired), Daniel Sams, Fabian Allen, Riley Meredith, Tymal Mills, Jaydev Unadkat, Mayank Markande, Murugan Ashwin, Anmolpreet Singh, Aryan Juyal, Basil Thampi, Rahul Buddhi, Sanjay Yadav
MI, though, has retained most of its core players and only a few of the above-released players were part of their team throughout the season.
Here is Mumbai Indians’ (MI) best XI from the retained players:
Openers: Rohit Sharma (c), Ishan Kishan (wk)
Rohit Sharma and Ishan Kishan, MI’s openers from last season, will continue at the top in IPL 2023 as well. MI would hope that Sharma has a better tournament than he had in 2022 – where he couldn’t hit even a single half-century – and that Kishan scores at a quicker strike rate than the 120 he managed last season.
Middle-order: Dewald Brevis/Tristan Stubbs, Suryakumar Yadav, Tilak Varma, Tim David
Suryakumar Yadav, Tilak Varma, and Tim David are sure starters for MI next season. Varma emerged as their biggest positive last season, scoring 397 runs at a strike rate of 131 and Suryakumar was in his surreal form – 303 runs in 8 innings at a strike rate of 145. Varma and SKY had time and again bailed MI out after early trouble.
Tim David was uncapped at the time of IPL 2022 and is now an Australian player and will take over the finishing duties in the void left by Pollard.
MI will have the decision to make between two South African youngsters – Brevis or Stubbs. The two South African youngsters have climbed up the ladder in the past 6-7 months. While Brevis made a splash in the IPL 2022 – 161 runs in 7 innings at a strike rate of 142 – Stubbs has broken into South Africa’s national side and played in the T20 WC. Both have been in great touch in domestic cricket.
Having Stubbs lower down the order would mean that MI can have SKY and Varma at 3 and 4. Brevis can also bowl part-time leg spin.
Pacers: Jofra Archer, Jason Behrendorff, Jasprit Bumrah
MI’s big-ticket fast bowler signing in the last mega-auction, Jofra Archer has started to bowl with the England team and is expected to make his return to high-level T20 cricket in January; MI Cape Town has added Archer to their team in SA20.
Archer’s return will be a massive boost for MI in the IPL as their bowling looked toothless apart from Bumrah. MI has also bolstered their pace attack by trading in Behrendorff, the Australia left-arm seamer who specializes in taking new ball wickets as they had Boult doing it for them in 2020 and 2021. Bumrah is Bumrah, but he too is recovering from a back injury currently.
Spinners: Hrithik Shokeen, Kumar Kartikeya
Shokeen and Kartikeya are two youngsters who have been retained after impressing the management with some glimpses of their spin bowling last season. MI would hope that both have made giant strides in their bowling from last season and would help them bring back glory days. Containing runs is going to be as crucial as taking wickets because MI will play half of their league games at the Wankhede next season.
Mumbai Indians (MI) Best XI from retained players:
Rohit Sharma (c), Ishan Kishan (wk), Dewald Brevis, Suryakumar Yadav, Tilak Varma, Tim David, Hrithik Shokeen, Jofra Archer, Kumar Kartikeya, Jason Behrendorff, Jasprit Bumrah
Players retained by Mumbai Indians (MI): Rohit Sharma (c), Jofra Archer, Jason Behrendorff, Dewald Brevis, Jasprit Bumrah, Tim David, Kumar Kartikeya, Arshad Khan, Ishan Kishan, Akash Madhwal, Hrithik Shokeen, Ramandeep Singh, Tristan Stubbs, Tilak Varma, Arjun Tendulkar, Suryakumar Yadav.