It was in the month of June last year when Dwayne Bravo, the Mumbai Indians all-rounder from West Indies got to meet his team owner Nita Ambani. India were playing their first World Twenty20 match in England and Nita was among the many cricket enthusiasts touring to cheer the team.
“Bravo came and spoke to me about the IPL 2010 season. He said we need to keep one particular cricketer in mind. ‘He’s very good in this format’,” Nita said.
That cricketer was Kieron Pollard, the Trinidad & Tobago batsman who was soon going to set the Champions League on fire. Watching Pollard play so well in the Indian conditions soon after, Nita says “we discussed it among ourselves with Sachin and others and came to a decision.”
Thus, when the 2010 player auction happened, despite the whole silent-bidding process, Pollard was theirs. “During the bidding, we knew he would be the most sought after player, but we were determined to go all out for him,” she says.
In retrospect, the 2008 edition of IPL had started on a disappointing note for Mumbai Indians with Sachin Tendulkar missing the first six matches. The following season, it was Zaheer Khan’s injury that made things tougher.
“Going into Season 3, we have reinforced our strategies on all fronts. We have made deliberate efforts, in consultation with our senior players to shape a team that reflects youthfulness, dynamism and an aggressive attitude. You will see a much more energized and determined team,” says Nita.