Indian Premier League 2018 auctions left many teams with a new set of players and having to strive for a renewed team bonding and understanding within the group. However, Mumbai Indians managed to retain their entire core from last season including their foreign players.
Mumbai retained Rohit Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah, and Hardik Pandya while used their Right to Match option to bring back Kieron Pollard and Krunal Pandya. The 2018 IPL auction was a success for Mumbai as they managed to sign Evin Lewis, JP Duminy, Pat Cummins and Mustafizur Rehman.
Following the auction, Mumbai Indians camp led by the former Sri Lankan great Mahela Jayawardena must be quietly confident of a successful IPL 2018 campaign. While any IPL team’s Indian players build their core for them but it is the foreign players who end up being the match-winners and game-changers.
Mumbai Indians have at least 6-7 very good foreign players at their disposal but according to the IPL rules, all the teams will be allowed to field only 4 foreign players in their starting XI. So which are those 4 overseas players who will regularly play for Mumbai Indians at the IPL 2018?
4 overseas players Mumbai Indians should play in IPL 2018:
Regarded as one of the best overseas buys of the IPL auctions 2018, Mumbai Indians managed to sign “The Fizz” for just INR 2.2 Cr. Mustafizur was a key figure in Sunrisers Hyderabad’s IPL success in the year 2016. He was their best bowler and was virtually unplayable with his slower balls and deadly yorkers.
After a struggling 2017 edition of the IPL, Sunrisers Hyderabad decided to let “The Fizz” go and Mumbai Indians did not waste any time in grabbing the Bangladeshi fast bowler. MI were looking to sign a wicket-taking fast bowler to aid Jasprit Bumrah in the death overs and Mustafizur could be that player and is likely to play most of the games for Mumbai Indians at the IPL 2018.
Speaking of fast bowlers, Mumbai Indians were keen on signing a strike bowler from overseas who can blaze through the opposition’s top order. They indeed got their wish after Pat Cummins was available in the auction and Mumbai got their man for INR 5.6 Cr.
Cummins was very consistent for the Kolkata Knight Riders last year picking 15 wickets from the 12 matches he played. The only worry for Cummins was high economy rate and that is where Mumbai Indians would work with the Austrlian pacer to cut down on the runs he conceded early and continue his wicket-taking ability.
Kieron Pollard (Backup option, Ben Cutting)
More often than not, Kieron Pollard manages to walk into the teams he plays T20 cricket for. Over the years, Pollard has gone from being an all-rounder to a pure batsman who can win matches out of nowhere and he did exactly that for Mumbai Indians last year.
Pollard failed to pick a single wicket but was tournament’s 12th leading and Mumbai’s 2nd top run scorer with 385 runs to his name. After a successful IPL 2017, Pollard’s batting form has dipped over the last 12 months and if that continues to be the case, Mumbai have a readymade replacement for him in Australian Ben Cutting.
Cutting has been sensational for the Brisbane Heat in this year’s Big Bash T20 League with both bat and ball and Cutting could find a regular game time for Mumbai Indians at this year’s IPL if Pollard’s form goes out of the window.
Evin Lewis (Backup option, JP Duminy)
Along with Colin Munro and Chris Lybb, Evin Lewis is one of the most destructive opening batsmen world cricket and he will be playing for Mumbai Indians at IPL 2018. Lewis was the top run-getter in T20I cricket in the year 2017 which forced Mumbai Indians to spend INR 3.8 Cr to sign the West Indian batsman.
Lewis will be available for the entire tournament and barring any drastic loss of form, I expect Lewis to open for Mumbai Indians alongside Ishan Kishan or Rohit Sharma.
Imagining the possibility of Rohit and Lewis opening the innings for Mumbai must send shivers through the spines of opening bowlers of all the teams in the Indian Premier League next season.