The preparations for the next edition of the IPL has already begun, with teams sending in their final list of retained and released players. Three-time IPL champions Mumbai Indians had a dismal 2018 edition, as they finished fifth in the league.
Mumbai Indians were plagued by the poor form of their international stars, and inexperience in the bowling department too cost them the IPL 2018 season. With the side having released Pat Cummings, JP Duminy, Sri Lankan spinner Akila Dananjaya, Mustafizur Rahman among others, their bowling unit bears a weaker look and the franchise would be eager to strengthen this department in the auctions to held next month.
Here are the players they could target for 2019.
The seamer had an indifferent form last year, wherein he just picked up 11 wickets at an expensive economy rate of 9.65. After being sold for a mammoth 11.5 crores, much was expected from Unadkat after a stellar IPL in 2017, in which he had picked up 24 wickets. The hefty price tag seemed to have affected his performance though and he was released by the Rajasthan Royals ahead of the next edition.
With Mumbai Indians in dire need of a pacer, and with Indian skipper Virat Kohli suggesting that Jasprit Bumrah (who is with MI) and Bhuvneshwar Kumar be given adequate rest in the IPL before the World Cup, Unadkat might have a huge role to play in the side.
Mumbai Indians will be targeting a spinner who can accompany Mayank Markande in the middle. After they released Harbhajan Singh in the last edition, Mumbai’s spinning resources look rather bleak, with only Krunal Pandya and Markande capable of bowling the full quota of overs regularly. Hence, Varun’s inclusion could just be what Mumbai might be looking for.
The mystery spinner created waves in the Tamil Nadu Premier League, picking up 9 wickets in 10 games, but what stood out was his bowling economy rate of 4.70. Though Mumbai can opt for the services of an international spinner like Adil Rashid as well, the fact that they have just one foreigner’s slot open might force them to go for an Indian spinner who has been creating waves.
Axar Patel could be another spinning all-rounder that Mumbai Indians could target. If the tournament is played in India, the pitches on offer for the IPL will be low and slow, which will help Axar dish out impressive performances.
The 24-year-old is vastly experienced with 74 IPL wickets to his name. He is a clean striker with the bat too, and his economical spells could ease the pressure on Markande, who could then look for the wickets.
The West Indian who came to the limelight after smashing four sixes in the WT20 finals in 2016 in the last over to help his side to the crown, could be a like-to-like replacement for out of form Keiron Pollard.
Brathwaite played only 4 games in the 2018 edition, but made an impact straight away, playing a crucial knock of 43 off 29 balls in the first Qualifier at Mumbai. He also bowled with an average of 18.80 and Mumbai Indians could look to him to lend the balance that they desperately require.