IPL 2022 – What is Mumbai Indians best playing 11?

Alternating inactivity and hyperactivity was the mantra for Mumbai Indians at the IPL 2022 mega auction. So, how does their best playing 11 look?

Rohit Sharma IPL 2022
Mumbai will need the magic of Rohit the captain

There is no doubt that Mumbai Indians is the most successful team in the history of the IPL. And with IPL 2022 to be held in Maharashtra during the group stages, chances are that Mumbai Indians will feel right at home to erase the anomaly that was IPL 2021.

The franchise, however, will bear a strange and unnatural sight when they walk out during IPL 2022. For so long, one was used to seeing a Mumbai Indians team with the Pandya brothers and Kieron Pollard in the middle order. Such was the aura around the trio that no target seemed beyond their reach till these three were around.

Above them, there was the ever dependable Rohit Sharma and the always improving Suryakumar Yadav – perhaps the first name on India’s T20 team sheet. A true blue 360 degree player, Surya was chosen over Ishan Kishan by Mumbai Indians when they chalked up their retention list. Along with Surya and Rohit, Jasprit Bumrah and Pollard were retained by Mumbai heading into the IPL 2022 mega auction.

IPL 2022 – Mumbai Indians team analysis

Jasprit Bumrah and Jofra Archer
Mumbai Indians can potentially unleash Jasprit Bumrah and Jofra Archer together

Mumbai Indians opted for a unique, if not baffling policy, at the mega auction. Long periods of inactivity was disturbed by frantic bidding before assuming the role of audience again. One might say they had targeted certain players and did not feel obliged to engage otherwise.

Usually, there are two broad ways of approaching any auction. One is to build a profile listing certain characteristics required from a particular role and instead of going for any specific player, the franchise targets that profile to land the best possible target. The other approach is player based and this is the way Mumbai Indians went.

It became evidently clear that Ishan Kishan was on their list and they would bring him back come what may. They were also well aware that the left handed wicketkeeper top order batter will attract wide interest. So, they went all in and bagged him for INR 15.25 crore.

Mumbai had also the same approach for Jofra Archer as they perhaps salivated – as any person would – at the prospect of Bumrah and Archer sharing the new ball, then coming back to close the innings at the death. Half of every battle will be won if the pair can even play at half their ability. And on days they fire together, not many teams will be able to handle the fire.

This approach, however, meant that Mumbai were left short in many other departments. For example, they have serious holes to fill around the mentioned names, especially in the batting department. Players like Sanjay Yadav and Tilak Varma are yet to prove themselves at this level and thus, MI are heavily dependent on their established players.

In the bowling department, Mumbai have Basil Thampi and Jaydev Unadkat as Indian options. The latter, on paper, looks like a perfect third seamer to have with Bumrah and Archer as someone who can take the pace off. However, MI tend to field two overseas pacers, in which case Daniel Sams is likely to play the Unadkat role from number 8.

Singaporean all rounder Tim David will likely fulfil the Pandya brothers role along with Pollard in the middle order. Pollard’s international teammate Fabien Allen is also an option. He is a handy lower order finisher, can bowl some decent and is among the best fielders going around. As for the lead spinner, it is a choice between former MI player Mayank Markande and Murugan Ashwin.

In case MI choose to field a different combination of overseas players, young South African Dewald Brevis is an alternative at their disposal. This is especially possible this season as Archer is likely to not be available. In case, MI replace him with a similar profile, they may play Englishman Tymal Mills.

IPL 2022 – Mumbai Indians predicted 11

Kieron Pollard
Kieron Pollard is an MI legend

Rohit Sharma (C), Ishan Kishan (WK), Tilak Varma, Suryakumar Yadav, Kieron Pollard, Sanjay Yadav, Tim David, Daniel Sams, Murugan Ashwin, Jasprit Bumrah, Tymal Mills/Jofra Archer.