Four-time Indian T20 League winners and defending champions, Mumbai have a well-settled line-up that they have built over the years. Unsurprisingly, they had very few slots to fill in the auction in December, having already stocked up in the trading window and retained a large chunk of their players from the previous seasons. How will they line-up this season, though? Which overseas stars will they field? How many of the new buys will feature in their XI?
Full Squad: Rohit Sharma, Sherfane Rutherford, Suryakumar Yadav, Anmolpreet Singh, Chris Lynn, Saurabh Tiwary, Dhawal Kulkarni, Jasprit Bumrah, Lasith Malinga, Mitchell McClenaghan, Rahul Chahar, Trent Boult, Mohsin Khan, Prince Balwant Rai Singh, Digvijay Deshmukh, Hardik Pandya, Jayant Yadav, Kieron Pollard, Krunal Pandya, Anukul Roy, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Ishan Kishan, Quinton de Kock, Aditya Tare
Mumbai are unlikely to fiddle with their core group of players that involves the likes of Rohit Sharma, Kieron Pollard, the Pandya brothers and Jasprit Bumrah. With five out of 11 names ticked, they have a huge headache off their shoulders, but T20 games are often won by the last name you'd expect in the team sheet.
- Chris Lynn or Quinton de Kock?
- Lasith Malinga or Nathan Coulter-Nile?
- Trent Boult or Mitchell McCleneghan?
Three questions could decide Mumbai's starting XI this season. With Chris Lynn's addition, de Kock is in danger of missing out on a spot despite his recent exploits in the shortest format of the game. Lynn is a ferocious ball-striker and on the Wankhede surface, his big-hitting and ability to take on the short ball could help him ahead of de Kock.
Malinga is still a beast in T20s, but with age not on his side and his fitness waning, Mumbai might just be tempted to unleash their Rs 8 crore buy, Nathan Coulter-Nile. A big-hitter down the order and a pretty handy hit-the-deck bowler, the Australian fits snugly into the Mumbai way of playing T20 cricket.
Adding a left-arm seamer lends variation to the bowling attack and Mumbai have used Mitchell McCleneghan in plenty in the past. But like with Malinga, McCleneghan's stocks have fallen and his wicket-taking ability comes with a risk of conceding too many runs. As such, Trent Boult, a new-ball beast could be used ahead of his Kiwi teammate.
Overseas slots filled: Chris Lynn, Kieron Pollard, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Trent Boult
With the overseas spots filled, who will Mumbai's players be to fill the remaining places? With de Kock out, Ishan Kishan is a must-have as the keeper. Suryakumar Yadav for his last two seasons and recent form is a certainty. Rahul Chahar is likely to be the mainstay spinner although Anukul Roy and Jayant Yadav will challenge him.
Probable XI: Chris Lynn, Rohit Sharma, Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan, Kieron Pollard, Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Trent Boult, Rahul Chahar, Jasprit Bumrah
Feature image courtesy: AFP / Punit Paranjpe