Mumbai Indians endured an all-time low in IPL 2022, when they finished tenth on the points table despite the presence of key stars. Ahead of the 2023 season, Mumbai find themselves in a spot of bother with the absence of key stars such as Jasprit Bumrah and Jhye Richardson, with both the bowlers injured.
But the return of Jofra Archer definitely comes in handy for a franchise who is reeling on their pace-bowling stocks. However, a confident Mumbai skipper, Rohit Sharma insisted that Bumrah’s absence is ‘huge’ but at the same time reckoned that the franchise has got a couple of guys, who have been with the squad in the past two years, who could fill Bumrah’s shoes.
“He (Bumrah) is a big miss. But it's an opportunity for the youngsters in the team,” Rohit said in the press conference ahead of the start of the tournament.
“I don’t want to put too much pressure on the youngsters. Leading up to the first game, guys know what their role is, the last thing we want to do is put pressure on them. For guys who haven’t played the IPL before, there are quite a few guys, and if they get an opportunity, I would love to keep it simple for them.”
“We know that Bumrah’s not available. We have a couple of guys who could do Bumrah’s role in the team. We will keep an eye on that, hopefully whatever they space Bumrah was in, the others guys can come and do that for us,” Rohit added.
However, Rohit was mum about what are the slots up for grabs ahead of the season while insisting that the squad is well settled at this point.
"It's too early for that. The squad is settled, we will have a chat about 1 or 2 slots but apart from that, we have the other squad well settled,” added the Mumbai skipper, putting it wide open on which are those slots.
Rohit in the most jovial way put down MS Dhoni’s retirement, saying that he has been hearing about his last season for the last ‘2-3’ years.
“I don’t know whether it is MS Dhoni’s last season. I have been hearing this for the last 2-3 years, I think he’s fit enough and he will continue to play,” Rohit added.
When puzzled about Arjun Tendulkar, Mark Boucher had to say that it will be ‘good’ for the franchise to have the all-rounder available for selection with the left-arm seamer coming off an injury.
“Hopefully, you will see Arjun Tendulkar. Arjun is coming off an injury, hopefully we can see what he can do. He’s played quite a bit of cricket in the last six months. If we can have him for selection, it will be good for us,” Boucher said.
The new Impact Player rule has already drawn several opinions, including from Ricky Ponting, who said that it could reduce the impact of all-rounders. But Rohit had a different observation, saying that the team will get a better understanding of it, watching the first few clashes. While saying that, the MI skipper also reckoned that all-rounders and their impact will never diminish in T20s.
“Interesting that there is an innovation to the game. Only time will tell how the team copes up with the new rule. But personally, I like it, the impact player rule where a player will change the game after the toss. We will watch the other teams, and see how beneficial it is to the team, and get an understanding of it,” said Rohit.