The IPL 2021 Auction is scheduled to be held on 18th February in Chennai. The list of the players released by the teams was revealed on 20th January and the pre-season trading window closed on 11th February. Now, the focus is on the acquisition of players and completion of the squad. Mumbai Indians released several players and will be looking to fine-tune their squad in the upcoming mini-auction.
Players Released by Mumbai Indians ahead of IPL 2021 Auction:
Lasith Malinga, James Pattinson, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Mitchell McClenaghan, Sherfane Rutherford, Digvijay Deshmukh, Prince Balwant Rai
Players Retained by Mumbai Indians ahead of IPL 2021 Auction:
Rohit Sharma, Hardik Pandya, Jasprit Bumrah, Kieron Pollard, Krunal Pandya, Quinton de Kock, Trent Boult, Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan, Rahul Chahar, Jayant Yadav, Mohsin Khan, Anukul Roy, Anmolpreet Singh, Saurabh Tiwary, Chris Lynn, Dhawal Kulkarni
IPL 2021 Auction Purse: 15.35 Crores INR
Slots to fill: 7 (including 4 overseas)
Issues encountered by Mumbai Indians in IPL 2020:
The five-time IPL winners hardly faced any hiccups in the last season. If one had to nitpick, the only flaws in their team were the performance of the second overseas pacer, Krunal Pandya not doing well for the second successive season, and the lack of a quality off-spinner, which was exploited by other teams who used left-handed batsmen in the middle overs.
Last year James Pattinson and Nathan Coulter-Nile played as 2nd seamer in the side. Collectively, their economy was 8.5 and they took a wicket every 23 deliveries. They didn’t deliver to expectations, and were subsequently released.
Krunal Pandya played all 16 matches and batted 12 times. Although he faced just 8 balls on average, that too towards the end of the innings, he could only manage a strike-rate of 118 through the season, easily the lowest of all MI batsmen. With the ball he had a tougher job than previous seasons, having to bowl to left-handers a majority of the time.
What should be the strategy of Mumbai Indians in the IPL 2021 Auction?
Overseas pacers. Having released the likes of McClenaghan, Malinga (retired) and Pattinson, MI will want to replenish their pace bowling stocks. The 2nd overseas bowler is also the only slot that remains unoccupied in their first eleven.
So they will head into the auction looking for overseas seamers. They have a great deal of talents to choose from among those who enrolled in the auction.
As they have also released Sherfane Rutherford, MI should go for another middle-order batsman to add to their bench strength as a backup.
Potential targets for each slot:
1. Adam Milne:
Adam Milne has already played a few IPL matches in 2016-17 for RCB, but hadn’t lived up to his potential. He played for Sydney Thunder in the recently concluded Big Bash League and although he didn’t have wickets to show for it, he bowled well towards the end of the season.
Adam Milne since 2016 has an economy rate of 7.45 in overs 17-20, which are just inhumane numbers. Furthermore, he had a better average impact than Jasprit Bumrah in the death from Jan 2017 to May 2020.
Considering a minimum of 200 balls – T20s since 2017 – Overs 16-20
Adam Milne : +4.3
Jasprit Bumrah : +3.8
Wahab Riaz : +3.6
Patrick Brown : +2.3
Haris Rauf : +2.3#AskTheAnalyst
— The CricViz Analyst (@cricvizanalyst) May 4, 2020
Considering Mumbai Indians don’t have the budget to go after more high-profile names such as Chris Morris and Jhye Richardson, they should target Adam Milne for the second seamer’s role.
2. Sheldon Cottrell
In Trent Boult MI already have a world-class new ball bowler, but they also need a replacement should any injury occur. Sheldon Cottrell is someone who can swing the ball at pace upfront, not to mention he adds flexibility to the squad.
Last year, he was recruited by KXIP (now Punjab Kings) but was used as more of a lead bowler than a support bowler. Should MI go after him, they will be able to use him exclusively with the new ball.
In the first 3 overs of the innings since 2016, Sheldon Cottrell has an economy rate of just 6.75 and takes less than 15 balls per wicket. These numbers include the CPL, IPL and GT20. He is more than a handy backup option in a T20 squad.
3. Moeen Ali
Moeen Ali has played 19 IPL matches for RCB and was released ahead of the mini-auction. He has decent numbers in the IPL, averages 21 while striking at 158 and an economy just a tad above 7 with the ball.
The England all-rounder would add a lot of versatility to the Mumbai squad. He can bat anywhere from opener to No.7, although he is best used as a floating spin hitter in the middle overs. Furthermore, he adds the off-spin option which is quite essential in T20 for exploiting match-ups against left-handers.
Assuming others like Glenn Maxwell and Fabian Allen go for higher prices in the auctions, MI can possibly attempt to acquire Moeen Ali for the role of backup middle-order batsman in their squad.