Four-time Indian Premier League champions Mumbai Indians will be playing in the opener of the tournament when they take on the Chennai Super Kings in Abu Dhabi. The side, which was won every alternate season of the IPL since 2013, will be aiming to change the course this season, having won the tournament last year.
However, MI's record in the United Arab Emirates continues to haunt the side as they gear up for the tournament. In the 2014 edition of the IPL, MI had lost all of their games in the UAE leg of the tournament. However, the side's captain Rohit Sharma has insisted that he's not too worried about the past.
“We have only 2-3 players from that squad. I am not too fussed about it. Yes, we didn’t have a great experience (in 2014). But the team is completely different now, the thought process and everything is different,” Rohit said in a media interaction ahead of the opening game on September 19.
“We are talking about 6 years, it’s a lot of time and I think we did well after coming back from the UAE to India."
A lot has been said about the nature of pitches in the UAE in the build-up to the upcoming season. The tracks in the country generally assist the spinners, and Rohit believes that assessing the conditions is "very, very crucial."
"As I said, understanding the conditions and the pitches here will be very, very crucial and we are giving a lot of thought and emphasis on that," said the four-time IPL winning captain.
“Eventually, the pitches here are going to play a huge part, to understand that and adapt quickly and play to your potential and to play according to what has been asked of is very very crucial."
Rohit further reiterated that only 2-3 players from the 2014 squad are still in the MI side, and that the thought process and mindset has changed significantly in the past six years.
“I think the past performances will not play any part, this time around as I said it’s only 2-3 players who were part of that squad. Myself, Pollard and Bumrah, he played only 1 game that year, besides both of us, none of these guys were part of the 2014 squad," said Rohit.
“The team is different, the thought process is different, the staff is different and we are looking forward to a great IPL this year. We want to put out a great performance, we want to start well, so focus and the planning has been on that."