Mumbai Indians have a squad that is so thoughtfully put together that the other eight franchises would give up their entire purse to be able to have the depth the five-time champions possess. When there was murmurs about a mega auction and new teams, the question that most had was: would it not be unfair for MI to dismantle a squad that put forth a masterclass over the course of last season on how to do T20 cricket right.
MI, having won two titles on the trot, will certainly look to reinforce that status by going for a historic three-peat. And that is why they have once again shown signs of being ruthless in the market.
Results in last three seasons
|Season||League stage finish||Playoff result|
By releasing players like Nathan Coulter Nile and James Pattinson — two players who rotated for one overseas bowler slot and did pretty well when called upon — find themselves released and that is a clear sign that the overseas bowler slot (especially one that can operate in any of three phases of a T20 innings) is one that MI want to improve on. Lasith Malinga’s announcement of retirement means there is another slot open for a death bowling specialist too, should they want to seek support for Jasprit Bumrah and keep Trent Boult operating in the powerplay where he was effective in 2020.
Players released after IPL 2020: Prince Balwant Rai, Digvijay Deshmukh, Lasith Malinga, Nathan Coulter-Nile, James Pattinson, Sherfane Rutherford, Mitchell McCleneghan
Player traded in/out: None
There have no off-season trades from MI this time around and that would mean they are fully focussed on playing the market in the auction. The think-tank does not usually hesitate to go beyond reasonable price for a player if they think he could do the role in the short term.
MI squad for IPL 2021 ahead of auction
|Rohit Sharma||Jasprit Bumrah||Quinton de Kock||Hardik Pandya|
|Suryakumar Yadav||Jayant Yadav||Ishan Kishan||Krunal Pandya|
|Chris Lynn||Rahul Chahar||Aditya Tare||Kieron Pollard|
|Saurabh Tiwary||Trent Boult||Anukul Roy|
|Anmolpreet Singh||Dhawal Kulkarni|
There are not enough funds remaining for MI to splash the cash on more than one marquee overseas player despite having four slots to fill.
Salary cap remaining: Rs 15.35 crores
Overall slots remaining: 7
Overseas slots remaining: 4
Areas to target
- Overseas pacer(s)
- Indian spinner
- Backup overseas allrounder
- Backup Indian pacer
At this stage, the first XI (plus a couple of other options) for MI is almost an automatic selection except for an overseas pacer. That is exactly where the franchise’s attention would be, and it should not come as a surprise if they use a huge percentage of their Rs 15.35 crores on one player who will walk into the XI and improve them.
IPL 2021: Purse & squad details before auction
|Franchise||Purse remaining (Rs crores)||Available Slots||Overseas Slots|
The auction will be telecast on Star Sports Network on 18 February from 3 pm IST.