Krunal Pandya's form a concern for Mumbai Indians ahead of the IPL
Mumbai Indians is one of the most successful teams in IPL. They have won the tournament for the maximum number of times and they are the defending champions as well. They would be looking to continue their good run in the IPL this year too, but the recent form of one of their key players has caused a lot of concern in their aspirations of winning their fourth IPL title.
In the auction held at Bangalore last month, Mumbai Indians had two Right-to-Match (RTM) cards left. They used one of those for retaining Kieron Pollard, while they used the other one to retain Krunal Pandya. Krunal Pandya has been a consistent performer for the Mumbai Indians since he joined the franchise. In his debut season in 2016, he made 237 runs and picked up six wickets.
In the following year, he contributed massively to Mumbai Indians' title victory by scoring 243 runs and picking up 10 wickets. Apart from scoring quick runs and picking up wickets at crucial junctures, it was his ability to perform under pressure that helped him to earn a whopping ₹8.8 crores price tag in the 2018 auction. But the Mumbai Indians management might be sweating over his recent form.
Playing for Baroda, Krunal is going through a mediocre domestic season. In the recently concluded Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, the domestic T20 competition, Krunal scored just 9 runs in four innings. His bowling was a little better as he took 4 wickets in four matches, but on three of those four occasions, he didn't complete his quota of four overs.
In the ongoing Vijay Hazare trophy as well, Krunal's patchy form has continued. In the four matches that he played till 13 February, he scored only 66 runs at an average of 16.5, while in bowling he took four wickets in four innings.
He did show some signs of coming back in form in the last match against Odisha where he scored 84 runs of 73 balls, but Odisha doesn't have the strongest of bowling attacks and questions on Krunal's form still prevail. If Krunal's erratic form continues in the IPL, then it will be a big jolt to Mumbai Indians' chances of defending the title.
Mumbai Indians is a side which relies heavily on contributions from its all-rounders. Krunal Pandya is a crucial part of this team and much is expected from a player of Krunal's calibre. Mumbai Indians will be hoping that he puts all these performances behind him and comes out all guns blazing, as his performance will have a huge bearing on their fortunes in this year's IPL.