Mumbai Indians are gearing up for the opening game of the 2020 Indian Premier League against Chennai Super Kings, which takes place on September 19. The IPL marks the return of a majority of Indian players to cricket action after more than six months of break, due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
MI have been training in Abu Dhabi, which is also the venue of their opening match. There has been significant focus on the side due to their poor record in the UAE in the 2014 edition, when 20 matches were held in the gulf country due to the General Elections in India.
While Rohit Sharma downplayed the past record, former Indian batsman and commentator Sunil Gavaskar has said that MI faces a couple of dilemmas - lack of experienced spinners and weakness in the middle order.
Gavaskar also named his ideal playing XI.
“Yes, you can say that because they do not have the experienced spinners that other sides have,” Gavaskar said in an interaction with Sports Tak.
“The other thing that can be a weakness is middle order. They will have to think who will bat at No.4 and No.5 position. If Quinton de Kock plays, then he will open with either Rohit Sharma or Suryakumar Yadav.”
However, in his XI, Gavaskar chose to open with Rohit and Suryakumar, with de Kock at number three. MI's head coach Mahela Jayawardene had earlier insisted that they would not experiement with the opening combination of Rohit and de Kock.
“Ishan Kishan might come in at No.4, he can also open the innings. Kieron Pollard can come in at No.5. Maybe Hardik Pandya can be promoted to No.4. But if that doesn’t happen then who will play at No.4?” Gavaskar furthers said.
In his XI, Gavaskar had Kishan at number four, followed by Hardik Pandya, Kieron Pollard and Krunal Pandya at five, six and seven repsectively.
With only one frontline spin option in Rahul Chahar (and spin all-rounder Krunal Pandya), Gavaskar opted for three pacers in Nathan Coulter-Nile, Jasprit Bumrah and one of Trent Boult and Mitchel McCleneghan.
Sunil Gavaskar’s MI Playing XI: Rohit Sharma (c), Suryakumar Yadav, Quinton de Kock (wk), Ishan Kishan, Hardik Pandya, Kieron Pollard, Krunal Pandya, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Rahul Chahar, Trent Boult/Mitchell McClenaghan, Jasprit Bumrah.