IPL 2017: Mumbai Indians, the launch pad for new faces
Mumbai Indians have won the Indian Premier League (IPL) twice in 2013 and 2015 and the now defunct Champions League Twenty20 in 2011 and 2013.ipl 2017 Updated: Apr 28, 2017 20:16 IST
From Saurabh Tiwary in 2010 to Nitish Rana in the current edition of the Indian Premier League, Mumbai Indians have always had unheralded players, who have delivered a commendable performance.
Tiwary, member of the 2008 Under-19 World Cup-winning team, had a breakthrough year in 2010. The Jharkhand southpaw was the team’s second-highest scorer after Sachin Tendulkar with 419 runs in 16 games and played a crucial part in their run to the final where they finished runners-up to Chennai Super Kings.
That year catapulted him into limelight. Not only did he earn an India ODI cap, in the 2011 auction, Royal Challengers Bangalore paid $1.6 million to get him on their roster.
Delhi lad Rana is on a similar journey this season and has been the find of the tournament. He is also Mumbai Indians’ top-scorer with 266 runs in eight games. With Rohit Sharma struggling initially, Rana’s contributions were crucial in Mumbai winning six matches on the trot.
In the inaugural season in 2008, Mumbai youngsters, Abhishek Nayar and Dhawal Kulkarni, impressed as well. While Nayar, with 206 runs in 10 innings, finished as Mumbai’s third-highest run-scorer after Sanath Jayasuriya and Robin Uthappa, Kulkarni was the team’s joint second-highest wicket-taker after Ashish Nehra with 11 wickets.
Mumbai were always known for having star players on their rolls, but they also gave opportunities to youngsters, who till then were unknown entities in domestic circuit. Not that every youngster got them the desired result.
Yogesh Takawale, Abu Nechim, Ali Murtaza and Unmukt Chand, to name a few, got their opportunities but couldn’t grab them.
Jasprit Bumrah is a classic example of how the team has nurtured a raw talent into a fine-tuned machine. The Gujarat bowler came on board in 2013 but, even though he didn’t boast of any impressive performances in the following seasons, Mumbai knew they had a gem in their ranks that needed to be crafted carefully.
Spending time with Lasith Malinga, who was Mumbai’s mainstay in bowling, helped Bumrah perfect his yorkers.
Bumrah’s potential was realised in 2015 and by 2016, he came into his own, taking 15 wickets. He had already made his India debut and ended up as the leading wicket-taker in T20 internationals with 28 scalps that year.
Bumrah was also Gujarat’s second highest wicket-taker in the 2015-16 Ranji season and played a key role in them winning their maiden Vijay Hazare Trophy.
The performances of Hardik Pandya in 2015, Krunal Pandya in 2016 and Rana in 2017 have ensured that Mumbai continue to unearth talent.
Hardik burst on to the scene in 2015 with an unbeaten 31-ball 61 against Kolkata Knight Riders. He never looked back thereafter, playing a pivotal role in guiding Baroda to the final of Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy in 2016 and then making it to the India team. He had a mediocre 2016 IPL but has played the role of a finisher with perfection in this edition.
Krunal has been consistent with the bat and ball ever since he made his debut in 2016. He was playing so well in this edition that new recruit Karn Sharma only got his opportunity in the last match against Rising Pune Supergiant after Krunal got injured.