Cape Town, April 16 (Inditop) Mumbai Indians will be looking to a fully-fit, in-form Sachin Tendulkar to make them serious contenders in the second edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL), beginning here Saturday. They will take on Chennai Super Kings in the first match.
The most expensive of IPL teams, owned by business tycoon Mukesh Ambani, missed iconic Tendulkar in the first seven matches of the inaugural edition due to a groin injury. But his timely presence was inspiring for the team to recover remarkably from a disastrous beginning and reach within striking distance of the semi-final.
Mumbai Indians lost the first four matches under the captaincy of Harbhajan Singh, who was banned for the rest of the IPL for slapping teammate S.Sreesanth. They bounced back to win six matches in a row with Shaun Pollock leading from the front.
The star firepower of Sanath Jayasuriya, Pollock and Dwayne Bravo lifted the team from the dumps. Youngsters Abhishek Nayar and Dhawal Kulkarni, too, played a crucial role in reviving the team’s fortunes.
Mathera marauder Jayasuriya will be a month shy of 40, making him the most aged player in the tournament, but he will be as dangerous as ever. Last year he sprang back to form, scoring 514 runs to become the second highest scorer in the tournament.
This year, he will have a fulltime partner in Tendulkar and seeing the two open the batting will be one of the highlight of the tournament.
Pollock will be doing the job behind the scene as a coach. Former India player Praveen Amre and Jonty Rhodes are the other two coaches of the team.
Zaheer Khan, who was exchanged with Bangalore Royal Challengers’ Robin Uthappa, will be a big bonus to the team. He will lead the attack with fiery Sri Lankan slinger Lasith Malinga.
Mumbai Indians made a smart buy in South Africa’s latest batting sensation J.P Duminy at the auction. Duminy was bought for a whopping US$950,000. They also got Bangladesh batsman Mohammad Ashraful and New Zealand fast bowler Kyle Mills besides trading Ashish Nehra for Shikhar Dhawan from Delhi Daredevils.
They will count on a strong line-up of allrounders in Bravo, Ryan McLaren, Duminy and Essex’s Graham Napier, who hit a world record 16 sixes, cracking 152 against Sussex in a T20 match.
Squad: Sachin Tendulkar (captain), Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan, Sanath Jayasuriya, Dilhara Fernando, Dwayne Bravo, Luke Ronchi, Saurabh Tiwary, Rohan Raje, Ajinkya Rahane, Pinal Shah, Abhishek Nayar, Dhawal Kulkarni, Yogesh Takawale, Lasith Malinga, Jean-Paul Duminy, Kyle Mills, Mohammad Ashraful, Graham Napier, Jaydev Shah, Ryan Mc Laren, Shikar Dhawan, Chetnya Nanda, Raheel Shaikh, Jude Singh.