IPL 2019: 3 Bowlers that MI should target at the auction
Mumbai Indians (MI) failed to qualify for IPL 2018's playoffs despite being the Champions the previous edition. While their bowling unit did well in the competition with 2 of its bowlers in the Top-10 wicket-takers list, it was their inconsistency in batting that was said to be the major cause of their defeats.
MI has traded in Quinton de Kock to bolster their batting, especially at the top, while at the end of last season, Suryakumar Yadav, Evin Lewis, and Ishan Kishan improved their performances to provide MI with the needed stability. With Ben Cutting, Kieron Pollard, and the Pandya brothers in the lower middle order, the finishing wouldn't be a problem, the only issue that persists is the position of Rohit Sharma, MI's captain in the batting order, which would have been taken care by the MI coaching staff after last season's debacle.
In the recent retained and released list, Mumbai Indians have released 3 frontline fast bowling options, Pat Cummins, Mustafizur Rahman, and Pradeep Sangwan and are in need of a fast bowler who could serve as a good partner for Jasprit Bumrah, both in the powerplay as well as in the death overs.
Since the 2019 World Cup, in all likelihood, would take place just after IPL 2019, Mumbai Indians would look to manage the workload of Jasprit Bumrah and Hardik Pandya, in the larger interest of the nation's prospects at the World Cup. Hence MI's major focus in the auctions would be on genuine fast-bowling options, as possible replacements or partners for Bumrah and Hardik.
So here are some options,
#3 Ben Laughlin
The 36-year old from Victoria wouldn't be an ideal buy at the auction if age is used as the prime criterion. But for a semi-auction (not a full auction which would most likely take place in 2021 or 2022), Ben Laughlin would be the man to-go-to if one needs an experienced, economical, bowling spearhead.
A death-overs specialist with successful exploits in the Big Bash League (BBL) and the New Zealand Super Smash League, Ben's T20 career stats of 157 wickets in 121 innings at an economy of 7.89 speak for themselves.
At the age of 36, he is still fit as a fiddle which can be seen from the fact that he was the joint second highest wicket-taker in BBL 2017-18 with 16 wickets from 12 innings.
Ben can be used as a stop-gap for a year or two so that Mumbai Indians can at least manage the workload of Bumrah in the upcoming season and then based on Ben's performance decide his future at MI.