What’s the story?
The Mumbai Indians team management have cleared the air regarding the availability of their overseas stars ahead of the tenth edition of the IPL. The West Indian duo of Kieron Pollard and Lendl Simmons will land in Mumbai just a day before the start of the 2017 IPL and will join the team in Pune the next day, a day before their first match of the season.
On the other hand, Sri Lanka’s Lasith Malinga and Asela Gunaratne are likely to miss the team’s first match against the Rising Pune Supergiant in Pune and will join the team in Mumbai on 7th.
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“Pollard and Simmons will reach Mumbai on 4 April and join the team in Pune on 5 April for pre-match training. We have no word yet actually from the Sri Lanka board but most likely they will finish the Bangladesh series - with the last match scheduled on 6th April - and join the team on the 7th in Mumbai," MI's official spokesperson informed PTI on Saturday.
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There were some uncertainties over the participation of Pollard, Simmons, Malinga and Gunaratne for their first match of the season. Pollard and Simmons are a part of the West Indian squad that is playing Pakistan in a four-match T20 series that ends on April 1 while Sri Lanka will play a two-match T20I series against the visiting Bangladeshis with the last match scheduled on April 6.
Mumbai Indians had some good news last night as skipper Rohit Sharma, who was out of action since October last year, returned to the training camp in Mumbai along with the likes of Harbhajan Singh, Jos Buttler etc. Earlier today, the BCCI released a statement regarding all-rounder’s availability for the IPL and gave him a green signal to take part in the tournament.
In all likelihood, Mumbai will be without both Malinga andGunaratne for the first match while Pollard and Simmons are expected to feature in the playing XI in spite of traveling all the way from the Caribbean islands just a day before the match.
Mumbai Indians’ announcement regarding the availability of both Pollard and Simmons will give the fans a huge sigh of relief as both of them are a vital part of the side owned by Mukesh Ambani. As far as Malinga is concerned, Mumbai have a good back-up in the form of Mitchell Johnson, who might share the new ball with Mitchell McClenaghan in the absence of Malinga.