Kolkata: The two most significant additions that defending Indian Premier League (IPL) champions Mumbai Indians (MI) made to its team were the Australian duo — Chris Lynn and Nathan Coulter-Nile.
While opener Lynn was snapped up for his base price of Rs 2 crore, MI had to shell out Rs 8 crore to get fast bowler Nathan Coulter-Nile.
The rest of the MI’s acquisitions were mostly uncapped Indian players and the franchise’s owner Nita Ambani said it was in line with MI’s philosophy since 2010.
“To back youngsters has been MI’s philosophy since 2010, she said in a live session after the auction. “We’ve seen them prosper with us. We had Hardik (Pandya), (Jasprit) Bumrah, Krunal (Pandya). They came to us as uncapped players. This year we welcome back Sourabh Tiwary and Mohsin Khan. We also have Digvijay Deshmukh and Prince (Balwant Rai Singh).”
Speaking about captain Rohit Sharma, who will be playing his 10th season with MI, she said, “He joined us as a youngster, and took up the captaincy midway through the season. In 2013, we won our first IPL with him as a captain and then went on to win three more. I’m proud even with the way he’s playing for India,” she said.
Head coach Mahela Jayawardene said he had seen young players performing well with required backing from the team management. He hoped that 21-year-old Ishan Kishan would have matured well over the past few seasons.
“We’ve seen bits and pieces of Ishan delivering for us. He’s batting out of his position. He is an opening batsman but has been batting in different positions. Last season, especially in the back-end of the tournament he played some really good innings for us. When we’ve backed these young players they seem to perform well,” he said.
Jayawardene said while Lynn was an option at the top of the order for MI, they couldn’t forget what South Africa’s Quinton de Kock did for them in the last season. De Kock was the highest scorer for MI, and third-highest overall in the season, with 529 runs. The man closest to him from MI was Suryakumar Yadav with 424.
“There are all possibilities (of Lynn opening), but at the same time we couldn’t forget what De Kock did for us at the top last season,” he said. “These are all options available to us. You never know we might see Lynn batting at a different position and provide us that X-factor,” Jayawardene said.