Mumbai Indians are headed for a last-place finish in IPL 2022 |Courtesy-BCCI/IPL
- MI are heading for a last-place finish
- The five-time champions have won just 3 games in 13
- This is their worst-ever campaign in the league's history
Mumbai Indians (MI) have had year to forget in the 2022 Indian Premier League (IPL) and look destined for a last-placed finish. With one game left in the season, the Rohit Sharma-led franchise have just 6 points to their name. So far, they have won just three games in 13 matches this season.
Earlier in the season, they became the first team in the history of the world's richest T20 league to start their season with 8 straight losses. It is fair to say that in 2022, all that could go wrong has gone for the five-time champions.
For a team with such high standards, a season of such results is simply not acceptable. The owners, team management, and Rohit will have to go into a long overview in order to get their campaign back on track. Here are a few reasons behind it all going wrong for the five-time champions in 2022 -
Auction gamble fails
In a recent interview with the broadcasters, Lucknow Super Giants (LSG) mentor Gautam Gambhir claimed that 50% of the job is done at the auction and credited their work on the bidding table for a successful debut season in the league. In MI's case, their season was doomed to failure from the auction table.
The Mumbai-based franchise took a massive gamble by buying Jofra Archer for Rs. 8 crore knowing he will not available for the 2022 season. This left MI desperately short of quality options on the bowling front and put Jasprit Bumrah with the burden of carrying the bowling attack. With MI not having good enough options to support the star Indian pacer, it became easier for teams to play him out and not give away wickets.
With news of Archer suffering another setback on his return from injury and no guarantee on when will he return, the move might just be the one they regret for a long period of time.
However, more than the money spent on Archer, it is worth remembering that MI kept saving money until his name camp up for bidding late on the second day. In that time, they lost out on numerous quality players in literally every position to rivals and ended up in them choosing between second-rate options.
Questionable selection calls
While MI lacked on the quality front, there were still enough reserves in their ranks to do better in the 2022 IPL. Some tactical and selection decisions from Rohit & co. were baffling, to say the least. It is hard to explain the team management's move to drop Tim David for six games after just two failures at the start of the tournament. Since his return to the side, David has been exceptional and shown his renowned power-hitting ability. One can only wonder how different MI's season would have been if they played him in every game.
Over the last two games, Ramandeep Singh has shown his medium-pace bowing abilities and backed it up with a few wickets. For someone who is known as a power-hitter, he was the perfect replacement for MI to nurture and grow as Hardik Pandya's replacement. However, he only featured in one game before Suryakumar Yadav was ruled out of the competition. For a team short of batting depth and Indian pace-bowling all-rounder, it is surprising his name was not considered before.
Earlier in the season, MI played matches with just three overseas players in their line-up and in one game, they stepped onto the field with just two foreigners. That in itself is clear proof of things of poor selection choices and an auction gone terribly wrong.
Rohit is the league's most successful and MI team management have been known for being a step ahead of their opposition however this season they have looked a shadow of themselves on the decision-making front in 2022.
Big-name openers fail
With a bowling attack lacing quality, it was upon MI's batters to do the heavy-lifting. However, apart from Suryakumar Yadav and 19-year-old Tilak Varma, they failed to do so. In retaining Rohit Sharma (16 crore) and Ishan Kishan (Rs. 15.25), MI spent a massive amount of money on their opening pair who have been far from good enough.
With 266 runs in 13 games, Rohit is yet to score a half-century this season. Meanwhile, Kishan began the season with back-to-back half-centuries but has completely fallen off and crossed the 50-mark just once. While Rohit's struggles are hard to explain as remains one of the best batters in international cricket. Kishan simply has to do a lot better.
For someone known for his ability to give explosive starts, the MI wicket-keeper has played within himself all season. Kishan must rediscover the spark in him and go back to being the batter which forced MI to spend the big money on him.
Big calls needed in 2023
While it is hard to do it in a year without a mega auction, MI need major changes in their squad ahead of 2023. If they want to regain their former glory, they will need to make some ruthless decisions like possibly releasing Kieron Pollard, who is a legend of the franchise.
Similarly, they need to completely overhaul in their spin-bowling attack. While Yuzvendra Chahal, and Wanindu Hasaranga have been match-winners for their respective teams, MI's spin-attack looked toothless for most of the season.
While there is the year to go and they can wait on making a decision, they will have to reconsider their Archer move. There is no doubting the English pacer is the best in the world in T20 cricket when fit but if he is not fit, it won't count for a lot. The truth of the matter is they will need a much better supporting cast around Bumrah in the 16th edition.
Ultimately, it is no secret that MI need a major overhaul of their squad. It will be surprising to see if MI are not the most active teams in both the trading window and next year's mini-auction.