Mumbai Indians coach Mahela Jayawardene has confirmed that the Indian Premier League franchise will place their faith in Proteas skipper Quinton de Kock to partner Rohit Sharma against the new ball.
De Kock opened the batting for the franchise last term, and his consistency was a big factor in driving the Indians to the title.
Mumbai Indians put faith in De Kock
Mumbai Indians skipper Rohit is considered the most significant danger to opposition bowlers in a team jam-packed with explosive batting talent.
The franchise acquired the services of T20 maven Chris Lynn at the most recent IPL auction, but the Australian might have to wait for his opportunity.
“Having options is always great. Chris Lynn is a great addition to the squad but the combination of Rohit and Quinton has been there for us, last season they complement each other well,” said Mahela Jayawardene in quotes carried by Cricket365.
“It has been very consistent and both are well-experienced cricketers. I always feel ‘why fix something that ain’t broken’. So we will continue to go with that but having Lynn as an option gives us flexibility in the squad,” added the former Sri Lanka skipper.
De Kock enjoyed his best IPL campaign to date in 2019, scoring 529 runs in 16 matches including four half-centuries and regularly dominating the powerplay.
The wicketkeeper-batsman also took the gloves and gathered 19 dismissals as the Mumbai Indians strode to the title.
Rohit himself has indicated that the team will have some tactical flexibility and he will be willing to drop down the order if that is what is required.
“I opened for the entire tournament last year and will continue to do that,” Sharma said. “As a team, we keep all options open. I’m happy to do what the team wants. I enjoy batting at the top of the order and I’ve been doing it for a while. But even when I play for India, the message to the management is to not close any door and keep all the options open, so I’ll do the same here.”
Adapt or die
Sharma believes adaptability will be crucial to any team achieving success in this IPL with the pitches in the UAE very different from those in India and also likely to deteriorate with just three venues staging all the matches.
“It’s about understanding pitches and conditions, that is crucial so we are putting a lot of emphasis on that,” Sharma said. “Eventually, the pitches will play a big part, so understanding and adapting quickly is important.
“The weather is so hot and humid, the wickets will tire down. Having played the Asia Cup couple of years ago here, I certainly experienced that between the first game and the final there was a lot of difference in how the pitch was behaving. We will certainly expect the same here. It’s going to be a long tournament, we know how many matches are being played at each venue so the wickets will definitely tire down, and the slowness of the pitch will be a big factor. For us, all the talks happening in our group are based on all of that: we need to adapt how to play cricket on those kinds of pitches, what lengths to bowl, which shots to pick, what will be the percentage shot and ball.
“It’s not just the spinners but I think even the seamers will have a lot of assistance. Not the seam or swing movement, but there will be some reverse swing that we’re expecting. The way I look at it, we’ve got good balance and variety in our bowling attack. And same goes for the batting as well, you need to understand shots that will give you runs on this pitch. It’s not just about hitting boundaries and sixes, it’s also about the other option that you can take to make sure you reach an effective score.”