Mumbai Indians campaign last year was marked by bad selection, injuries and controversy.
Players like Ashwell Prince, Loots Bossman and Rajesh Pawar didn’t play a game. Aussie keeper Luke Ronchi was out after early failures leaving the gloves to Pinal Shah and Yogesh Takawale.
The injury to Sachin Tendulkar, Lasith Malinga and the suspension of Harbhajan compounded matters. Abhishek Nayar was also under the weather and his replacement Musavir Khote flopped.
Worse they didn’t break the traditional coconut on day one of practice at the BKC. No wonder they didn’t make the semis held on home turf.
The second season can’t get worse. The selection seems better. There’s Protea JP Duminy, Bangladeshi ex-prodigy Mohamed Ashraful and Kiwi all-rounder Kyle Mills.
Sanath Jayasuriya gets younger, keeper Ronchi, now Aussie No 2, looms large. And Dilhara Fernando is there to add the zip along with Malinga.
The prodigal son, Zaheer Khan, is back from Bangalore and there’s Bhajji too.
Above all three young guns have had a dream season – batter Ajinkya Rahane, bowler of the year Dhaval Kulkarni and Ankit Chavan, the left-arm spinner whose batting and bowling has improved by leaps and bounds.
With all-round back up of Nayar and Rohan Raje the team will be proof against all shocks.
MI lacked a leggie and that void has been filled by getting Delhi’s Chetanya Nanda, whose teammate Shikhar Dhawan will be a great back-up for Jayasuriya, a good replacement for Robin Uthappa.
From the sideliners there are left-arm quickie Rahil Shaikh and hitter Jaydev Shah.
Obviously Mumbai Indians will be spoilt for choice when it comes to the final eleven. A better option of who to drop rather than who to pick.