Five-time champions Mumbai Indians (MI) are notorious for their slow starts in the history of the Indian Premier League (IPL) but their bombshell today – dropping Ishan Kishan – is making social media go gaga.
MI beginning vulnerably in this year’s edition of the IPL as well hasn’t been too surprising, with people not questioning their initial hiccups as much, instead backing the team to get their act together soon.
But on Thursday (April 29), MI gave people a cause to criticise them by making their first genuine tactical error in leaving out middle-order batsman Ishan Kishan, who was their top run-getter in the last year’s IPL in UAE.
Ishan Kishan had made 516 runs from his 14 innings in IPL 2020 with an average of 57.33 and strike-rate of 145.76. In terms of pure numbers, it was the left-hander’s best season in his still young IPL career. It was a breakthrough campaign that didn’t just help MI reclaim the coveted crown but also opened up doors for Kishan’s India selection.
One would think if a cricketer makes that sort of impact on his team’s fortunes, he has earned the right to be backed through the thick and thin and remain an integral part of his team’s playing XI. But MI chose to drop Ishan Kishan after just five poor outings at the start of the IPL 2021, where it isn’t that any other MI batter has taken the tournament by the storm.
Do Mumbai Indians (MI) tend to run out of patience quickly with Ishan Kishan?
Leave aside skipper Rohit Sharma and Suryakumar Yadav to an extent, none of the other MI batsmen got going during the Chennai leg of their league-stage campaign. The likes of Quinton de Kock, Kieron Pollard and Hardik Pandya struggled to put the ball off the square on spin-friendly tracks at Chepauk. But only Ishan Kishan paid the prize for his lack of early performances and was left out for the match in Delhi against Rajasthan Royals (RR).
What makes it curious is that the decision involves MI, the most successful IPL franchise, who have historically backed their core group to deliver the goods. Maybe MI are showing first signs of impatience and instability in a tournament where, despite setting themselves up for the fast-paced tracks at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai, they won’t get to play a single game in their longstanding home venue.
Maybe, there is a trend developing when it comes to their treatment of Ishan Kishan who, last year as well, didn’t initially make the playing XI. Is it that MI tend to run out of patience a lot more quickly with Kishan than with a lot of their other batsmen?
At the toss versus RR, Rohit recognised that the track in Delhi is set to behave truer in terms of the pace and bounce than Chennai did and they wish to play more “fearless cricket”.
Doesn’t that only make the decision to leave out Ishan Kishan worse, considering he is a natural striker of the cricket ball and would’ve enjoyed batting in conditions at the Kotla.
Or is it that he is so short of confidence after failing in Chennai that the MI think-tank believes he is better off resting a few matches.
From the outside, one can never be sure of the communication between the management and the player, but leaving out Ishan Kishan at this stage of the tournament is an error that MI should quickly rectify.