Mumbai Indians (MI) skipper, Rohit Sharma conceded that no one can be compared with the legendary pacer, Lasith Malinga and they will be missing the latter given his “unbelievable” past performances. The 37-year-old Malinga, who is IPL’s highest wicket-taker with 170 scalps under his belt, has pulled out citing personal reasons in a major blow to the defending champions. MI will take on the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in this season’s tournament opener on September 19 here.
During the pre-tournament press conference, Rohit said, “I don’t think it is easy to come and fill his boots. I have said it many times, whenever we sort of finding ourselves in trouble, Malinga was the one to bail us out from that. We have got likes – (James) Pattinson, Dhawal Kulkarni, Mohsin (Khan) and these are the names that we are looking to replace Malinga with. But obviously, what Malinga did for Mumbai, it is not just comparable.”
Talking about his own role, Rohit said he will continue to open the innings, but he will also be keeping the options open whatever the team wants, happy to do that. He also felt that the correct reading of conditions would be crucial to his team’s fortunes.
Explaining the same, Rohit Sharma said, “The challenge for us will be to adapt to these conditions here which probably none of us are used to, because not a lot of cricketers from our group have played here. I think mentally it is about going out there and understanding what the pitch is doing, and based on that, you need to plan your game – whether it is your batting or bowling. So we have had a good chat around the group about that.”
According to Rohit, the team’s past performances in the UAE in 2014, has been forgettable, but it won’t matter now. The COVID19 pandemic forced the BCCI to shift the IPL to the UAE.