While their Maharashtra derby Rivals, Rising Pune Supergiants (RPS), grabbed the headlines at the IPL auction 2017 by capturing Ben Stokes for a record 14.5 crore rupees, Mumbai Indians (MI) had a low-key auction.
Mind you, the two-time IPL champions didn’t have to grab the headlines and the Mumbai Indians team, unlike RPS, did not have major voids to be fulfilled. Yet, the Nita Ambani-owned franchise could have played their cards better and made better additions to their IPL 2017 squad.
Anyway, at the end of the much-anticipated IPL 2017 auction, here’s the list of new player purchases made by the MI led by new coach Mahela Jayawardene:
- Asela Gunaratne
- Krishnappa Gowtham
- Karn Sharma
- Kulwant Khejroliya
- Mitchell Johnson
- Nicholas Pooran
- Saurabh Tiwary
As a result of these buys, the final Mumbai Indians IPL 2017 squad looks like this:
|Mumbai Indians IPL 2017 Squad|
|Indian Players (capped and uncapped)||Overseas Players (capped and uncapped)|
|Rohit Sharma, (C)||Lasith Malinga|
|Ambati Rayudu||Kieron Pollard|
|Harbhajan Singh||Tim Southee|
|Jasprit Bumrah||Mitchell McClenaghan|
|Shreyas Gopal||Jos Buttler (WK)|
|Vinay Kumar||Lendl Simmons|
|Parthiv Patel (WK)||Nicholas Pooran (WK)|
|Nitish Rana||Asela Gunaratne|
|Siddhesh Lad||Mitchell Johnson|
|Mumbai Indians Coach||Mahela Jayawardene|
|Stadium||Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai|
IPL Auction 2017 Review: Mumbai Indians’ Newly Purchased Players
Following are the players who have been newly added to the MI squad:
- Nicholas Pooran
The West Indian was MI’s first purchase of the IPL 2017 auction for Rs. 30 lakhs.
Who is Pooran?
Pooran, aged 21, is a Trinidad and Tobago cricketer who represented the West Indies U-19 at the ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup 2014. Pooran bats left-handed and is a wicketkeeper by trade.
Pooran’s exploits have come mainly in the shortest format of the sport (T20), in which he has represented teams like Trinidad and Tobago Red Steel, St Kitts and Nevis Patriots and Khulna Titans in the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) and Bangladesh Premier League (BPL). He has played three T20Is for the West Indies too. Pooran has three half-centuries in 42 T20 innings, at a strike rate of 143.29.
Why have Mumbai Indians bought Pooran and what’s his utility?
Mumbai Indians have a strong squad at their disposal, that purchasing a player like Pooran does not quite make sense. However, Jos Buttler, one of MI’s nine overseas players in their IPL 2017 squad, will leave early for national duty. So, Pooran, a wicketkeeper himself, could provide cover. Pooran is one of the three overseas players bought by Mumbai at the IPL auction 2017.
I do not think Buttler himself will be a regular fixture in the Mumbai Indians playing XI in the upcoming IPL season. So, the chances of Pooran playing are quite bleak. But, over a long, 47-day season for teams who reach the final, almost every player could become necessary at some stage.
2. Mitchell Johnson
The Australian pacer has rejoined Mumbai Indians, whom he led to the IPL 2013 title by taking 24 wickets in 17 matches, for two crore rupees. Johnson and Lasith Malinga were a devastating opening bowling pair four IPL seasons ago.
Why did MI buy Johnson?
You probably didn’t think another pace bowler was required, with Malinga back fit and bowling really well for Srilanka in their ongoing three-T20I series against Australia. In addition, Mumbai also have two New Zealand quicks, Mitchell McClenaghan and Tim Southee, one of whom can partner Malinga.
Therefore, the decision to buy Johnson isn’t entirely justified. But, Malinga, given his troubles with injuries, is probably not going to play every fixture for the Mumbai Indians. In which case, Johnson will spearhead the MI bowling attack.
The now 35-year-old Johnson will come into IPL 2017 on the back of winning the 2017 Big Bash League with Perth Scorchers. He bowled explosively and bagged 13 wickets. His economy rate was a highly impressive 5.91.
3. Krishnappa Gowtham
Gowtham became MI’s third acquisition of IPL auction 2017, for Rs. 2 crores.
Who is K Gowtham, the new Mumbai Indians player?
Gowtham, aged 28, plays for Karnataka in the Ranji Trophy and made his first-class debut back in 2012. He represented India A against Australia at the Brabourne Stadium. He’s an off-spinning all-rounder who bats and bowls right-handed.
Having made his Ranji debut in 2012, Gowtham has played only 12 matches till now.
Why have Mumbai Indians bought Gowtham and what’s his utility?
Gowtham is one of the MI players who will probably get one or two matches in the 10th edition of the IPL. He is likely to be on the MI periphery.
4. Karn Sharma
Karn is a seasoned campaigner in the Indian Ranji circuit, where he plays for the Railways. He played one Test and two ODIs for India, and had been a part of the Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) since IPL 2013. He was released by the defending IPL champions ahead of the IPL auction 2017.
Mumbai Indians have bought Karn for Rs. 3.2 crores.
Why have Mumbai Indians bought Karn Sharma?
In addition to being a good leg-spinner with a wealth of IPL experience behind him, Karn can provide crucial runs with the bat lower down the order. And, even though MI have Shreyas Gopal, Jagadeesha Suchith, Krunal Pandya, and senior statesman Harbhajan Singh in the spin department, Karn’s experience makes him an enviable spinning option ahead of youngsters Gopal and Suchith, in particular.
5. Saurabh Tiwary
The Jharkhand left-hander rose to prominence while he was an MI player in the IPL 2010 edition, in which the Mumbai franchise reached the finals and he accrued 419 runs in 16 matches, with all those runs coming at a strike rate of 135.59.
Saurabh has joined Mumbai Indians from Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) for Rs. 30 lakhs.
Why have Mumbai Indians bought Saurabh Tiwary?
Mumbai Indians released Unmukt Chand ahead of the IPL auction 2017, so Saurabh is very much a straight swap for the Delhi batsman. I expect Saurabh to play in the middle order, along with the likes of Ambati Rayudu and Rohit Sharma.
6. Asela Gunaratne
Gunaratne made his Srilankan debut in 2016, against Srilanka, in a preparatory three-T20I series before the ICC World Twenty20 2016. He has since done well as a batsman who can bowl a few overs.
Just a day before the IPL auction 2017, Gunaratne took the cricket world by storm with a 46-ball 84 which helped the Lankan Lions beat a second-string Australian side by two wickets and take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-T20I series. That innings on Sunday was a proper exhibition of his big-hitting prowess and an inkling of his ability to deliver under pressure.
Gunaratne has been bought added to the Mumbai Indians team for Rs. 30 lakhs.
Why have Mumbai Indians bought Asela Gunaratne?
Srilankan connection is involved here and MI’s coach, Jayawardene, probably knows Gunaratne and believes in him, too.
The question, though, is who does Gunaratne play in place of, taking into account that Kieron Pollard is a mainstay in the MI middle order, Lendl Simmons is an opening batsman, Lasith Malinga will play most if not every match, while Jos Buttler, Mitchell Johnson and Mitchell McClenaghan are also part of what is a strong Mumbai Indians team for IPL 2017?
7. Kulwant Khejroliya
Kulwant is a new player who we don’t know about yet. He is aged 24 and was bought by MI for his base price of Rs. 10 lakhs. Kulwant is part of the Delhi squad for the Vijay Hazare Trophy 2017, which began on 25th February in Cuttack.
Mumbai Indians’ IPL Auction 2017 Verdict (Review)
While the acquisitions of Gunaratne and Johnson are astute ones, I do not think the other quintet will be of much value to the Mumbai Indians team. I am giving MI a rating of 6.5/10 for how they fared in the IPL 2017 auction.
Do you agree with the players who MI have bought? Which of the seven players will you be keeping an eye on during IPL 2017? Tell us in the comments section below.