The IPL juggernaut rolls on, entertaining us with fantastic performances from both young, uncapped players and celebrated international stars. Two weeks into the tournament, few sides have got the start they would have wanted while few are still fighting to gain some momentum.
However, Mumbai Indians (MI), generally slow starters, have had a great start to this year’s IPL. After 6 wins on trot, they sit pretty at the top on the points table. They have won from all situations and that should have doubled their confidence as we move into the business end of the competition.
The Mumbai-based franchise have everything going for them. The batting has clicked as a unit, the bowling has been exceptional and the intensity in the field has been right up there. But if there is anything that they need to be concerned about, it’s their wicket-keeper batsman, Parthiv Patel’s form.
In an otherwise perfect team, Parthiv’s form has been a let down. Apart from a quick-fire 37 against a weak Punjab bowling attack, the Gujarat batsman hasn’t made any noteworthy contributions. Mumbai would look to sort this issue out as Parthiv’s form seems to be the only chink in their armour.
Here in this article let us look at 5 main reasons why Parthiv Patel should be dropped.
#1 Jos Buttler could keep wickets in his absence
Parthiv Patel has kept wickets for MI regularly and has done a decent job. But as they have Jos Buttler, who is regular wicket-keeper for England in both ODIs and T20Is, dropping Parthiv wouldn’t affect them much. The athletic Buttler has 123 and 18 dismissals to his name in ODIs and T20Is respectively and is very reliable behind the stumps.
Buttler is clearly the better wicket-keeper among the two. But still Parthiv was handed wicket-keeping duties. Assumedly, because MI think tank feel Buttler could be handy in the outfield with his acrobatics.
However, the Englishman seems to have been accustomed to field with gloves. It showed when he went with hard hands only to drop a pretty straight forward catch of AB de Villiers when MI took RCB at the Chinnaswamy. Fortunately, the drop didn’t cost them much as De Villiers got out without adding much to the score. Surely, Buttler is a more helpful as a keeper.
#2 His form is a cause for concern
The attacking opener from Gujarat hasn’t been at his best this year. Generally a sweet timer of the ball, the southpaw has looked to attack too soon in the innings without getting a look in and hence has caused his own downfall.
He has scored just 136 runs in seven matches, the highest score being 39. You expect better numbers from an experienced campaigner like him.
And with his opening partner, Jos Buttler too failing to make consistent contributions with the bat, MI have been unable to make the best of the power plays. And that in turn has put considerable amount of pressure on their explosive middle-order. They have had to restore the momentum before actually expressing themselves.
It would seem that he was given an extended because Rayudu isn’t available for selection due to injury. But, Patel clearly looks out of sorts at the moment and MI should look at other options going ahead into the tournament.
#3 Presents an opportunity to Rohit Sharma to open the innings
Sharma was outstanding in the previous edition of IPL where he opened the innings for MI. The stylish right-hander amassed 489 runs in 14 games with an impressive average of 45 and a strike rate of 133.
This time around the Mumbai Indians skipper has brought himself down to number 4, assumedly to hold the innings together, but the move hasn’t worked very well. In seven matches, he has scored a paltry 54 runs, 40 of which came against in their game against Gujarat Lions.
So, given his records as an opener, both for MI and India, and considering their opening woes this year it would be better if the Mumbaikar bats at his normal position- as an opener.
#4 Good starts will ensure that middle-order batsmen play with freedom
MI have all been about their middle-order batting this year. Nitish Rana, the Pandya brothers along with Kieron Pollard have been phenomenal. Despite losing early wickets, the Rohit led side has won all four games while chasing. That tells how well the middle-order has handled the pressure.
But their batting abilities can be better exploited if they get a good start, which has been lacking thus far.
Therefore, if Sharma opens with Buttler and provides them with a solid start, they should fancy themselves to chase down any total or to put massive total on the board batting first.
#5 Provides an opportunity to try other batsmen or combinations
MI have a very good pool of local players waiting in the wings for an opportunity to prove their mettle. And dropping Parthiv could provide them with an opportunity to try other combinations.
Also, Ambati Rayudu, who has been out of action since he suffered a groin injury while fielding in the first game, could be back in place of Patel as soon as he is fit. Rayudu has been a stalwart of their batting and will bring a lot to the table with his experience. On his day the talented right-hander can be a match winner.
The likes of Saurabh Tiwary and Jagadeesha Suchith are other options if they look to try different combinations.