The road to the tenth edition of the Indian Premier League is set to get underway as the 2017 IPL auction is scheduled to take place in Bengaluru on February 20. All the franchises would have done their homework and identified the requirements of their team.
Two-time champions, Mumbai Indians have a lot of bases to cover as they will look to improve on their last year’s performance. Though they look strong on paper, they still need a few additions in key departments.
They go into the auction with a purse of Rs. 11.55 crore and can buy a maximum of seven cricketers that include three overseas professionals.
Let us take a look at a few players the franchise will look to buy in the upcoming auction.
#1 Jason Roy
One of the main objectives for Mukesh Ambani’s franchise will be getting a good opening partner for their skipper Rohit Sharma. Last season, Rohit had three different opening partners and none of those three combinations proved to be successful.
Rohit is known to get his eye in before going for the kill. So, the team management might want their skipper to open with an aggressive batsman as it will help the team get some quick runs early in the innings and at the same time, it will also allow the Indian to play his natural game.
In that case, England opener Jason Roy is someone who fits the bill perfectly. In spite of being vulnerable against spinners, Roy is likely to be one of the most sought after players at the auction and the two-time champions will look to poach him ahead of the tenth edition.
As stated before, Mumbai Indians will look to buy an aggressive batsman to partner Rohit Sharma at the top of the order. In all likelihood, their first choice target would be Jason Roy. If they fail to acquire him, they might turn their attention to their former team members, Alex Hales or Martin Guptill.
It won’t be surprising if the team management decides to go for Afghanistan’s Mohammad Shahzad as he is someone who is aggressive and is capable of giving the team a flying start. His record in India is exceptional and the Afghan-international won’t cost the franchise a lot when compared to other big names. However, the kind of destruction he causes with the bat is on par with most of his compatriots who are going under the hammer.
Shahzad also gives his team an extra dimension as he is a frontline wicketkeeper, something that will reduce the burden on Jos Buttler and allow him to play as a specialist batsman.
#3 Aditya Tare
Yet another area that Mumbai Indians will be looking to strengthen is their local talent in the middle order. Their middle order is filled with all-rounders like Kieron Pollard, Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya to name a few, and that makes Jos Buttler the only specialist batsman in that position.
They have also released Unmukt Chand and in all likelihood, Ambati Rayudu will bat at number 3. Hence, the Rohit Sharma-led side will look to buy an Indian middle order batsman to bat at 5 or 6. The auction pool, however, does not have many options in that respect.
One player that could be picked by the two-time IPL champions is Aditya Tare. Tare, who captains Mumbai in the Indian domestic circuit, was a part of the Mumbai Indians set-up before he was released by the franchise and moved to Sunrisers Hyderabad, who in turn, released him ahead of this year’s auction.
Tare averages over 28 with a strike-rate of 131 in the format, numbers that are not bad for a middle order batsman.
#4 Imran Tahir
It is surprising that Delhi Daredevils released South African leg-spinner, Imran Tahir ahead of this year’s auction. Tahir is a proven match-winner in this format and is currently ranked No. 1 in the ICC World T20I bowlers rankings.
Tahir picks a wicket every 13 balls and concedes just over six runs per over in T20Is. He is, without a doubt, a top attraction in this year’s auction and it will be surprising if he doesn’t fetch a huge amount.
Mumbai Indians have a frontline spinner in Harbhajan Singh and they often rely on their pacers, Mitchell McClenaghan and Jasprit Bumrah, to deliver with the ball for their team. Tahir’s inclusion will strengthen their bowling attack and also provide variety to their bowling. His variations will come in handy at the Wankhede stadium, where they will play most of their matches.
Tahir can actually make a difference for Mumbai Indians as they lacked an economical bowler last season.
#5 Ben Stokes
No surprises for guessing this name. Not only Mumbai, but a host of other teams will be looking to acquire the services of the English all-rounder, who is expected to fetch the highest money in the event. He has been phenomenal for England in the last 20 months and the Durham lad will look to carry on his good form into the T20 extravaganza.
Stokes is aggressive and likes to give a 100% whenever he takes the field. He is a multi-dimensional player who can contribute to the team’s cause in every possible way. In addition to his ability to change the game on its head with his bat in a matter of a few balls, Stokes is capable of giving his captain four good overs with the ball. Apart from picking up crucial wickets in the middle and death overs, he is also a safe bet in the field.