Former India opener turned veteran commentator Aakash Chopra has opened up on Mumbai Indians’ (MI) strengths and weaknesses heading into IPL 2022. However, Mumbai didn’t retain the likes of Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Quinton de Kock, Rahul Chahar and Trent Boult, and that might affect their performances.
In a video shared on his YouTube channel, Aakash Chopra said: “You will 100% give them their scouting ability. They find players from different quarters. We say Dhoni makes players, they (MI) find and then make them. So they have searched players and got them – whether it is Dewald Brevis, Sanjay Yadav, Tilak Varma or Mohammad Arshad Khan. They have some cricketers others don’t know much about.”
Chopra again explained: “Their first three matches are against DC on the 27th, RR on the 2nd and KKR on the 6th. Surya will not be available for the first match, that is what has been said. Because there is a big gap after that, Surya should be available by the 2nd. Everyone else is available. They understand the availabilities and pick players according to that.”
Meanwhile, Suryakumar Yadav is recovering from his thumb injury at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) and he is awaiting clearance to join the camp as well. On the other hand, Aakash Chopra also opined on MI’s bowling department.
He observed: “But if we talk about the team, how is it looking? In the bowling, there is Unadkat, Basil Thampi, Murugan Ashwin, Markande but the same quality is probably not available here. Rohit Sharma will have to have a great season as a batter, there is no doubt that he will captain well. Suryakumar Yadav and Ishan Kishan – they have to fly. This is going to be the most important season for Kieron Pollard because you have Tim David, Daniel Sams and all of that down the order.”
Meanwhile, Aakash Chopra named Suryakumar Yadav as MI’s likely highest run-getter in IPL 2022. And, he believes Jasprit Bumrah will finish as the most successful Mumbai Indians bowler as well.
He said: “Who can be the highest run-scorer? There are three big contenders here. Rohit Sharma is otherwise an absolute rockstar in white-ball cricket but he hasn’t scored too many runs for the Mumbai Indians. That is a bit of a concern. He hasn’t had a 600-run season. Ishan Kishan is another guy, they have bought him for 15.25 crores. The highest run-scorer for the Mumbai Indians this season is going to be Suryakumar Yadav even though he will miss the first match. Highest wicket-taker – there is no competition this time. You don’t have Rahul Chahar, Trent Boult – you will see the bowling slightly weak. I am going with Jasprit Bumrah, new ball and the old ball, people will play him cautiously but the player has so much class that he will still pick up wickets.”
Aakash Chopra named Tim David and Ishan Kishan as the likely most destructive Mumbai Indians batter. He again shared that Mumbai won’t able to qualify this time as well.
He elaborated: “Who will have the highest strike rate? Kieron Pollard says he is there, Ishan Kishan says he will play in the powerplay and hit a lot but I am saying Tim David. They say he is a six-hitting machine. So I am going with Tim David to have the highest strike rate. Where can this team finish? I feel the Mumbai Indians will not be able to qualify this time.”
He also believed RCB too won’t qualify this time.
“I’d say that RCB may not qualify this year. This is what I feel and I could be completely wrong. They may still make it, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they don’t. RCB have Faf at the top with DK and Mahipal Lomror down the order. They spent a lot of money on Hasaranga. I was surprised that I did not look at someone like Rahul Chahar and Yuzvendra Chahal,” he concluded. “The lower middle-order woes that were there before are still there, Speaking of their pain points, Glenn Maxwell has a good season once in five years. He could also have back-to-back good seasons too, there’s no doubt about that too. But there is still a volatile environment when Maxwell is around because he is a high-risk player.”