Mumbai Indians lifted their fifth IPL title in 2020, becoming only the second team after Chennai Super Kings to defend the trophy.
However, like all other teams, the defending champions have a few holes that they would like to plug before the 2021 edition starts. Teams have been asked to send the list of players they want to retain for the 2021 season by Jan 21, and the auctions are likely to happen on Feb 11.
Ahead of the auctions, here are 3 big names that MI might look to release and get a few better alternatives:
#3 Nathan Coulter-Nile
Nathan Coulter-Nile was in demand ahead of the 2020 auctions, especially among arch-rivals MI and CSK. MI finally pipped CSK and bought Coulter-Nile for a massive ₹8 cr. Going into the tournament, Coulter-Nile was expected to be a regular in the XI, given his knack of wicket-taking as well as power-hitting lower down the order.
But recurring injuries meant he did not start. Fellow Australian James Pattinson grabbed his opportunity and made the most of it, picking up wickets.
Moreover, when Coulter-Nile got his chances in the latter half of the tournament, he proved to be too expensive, sometimes the weakest link in an otherwise splendid bowling attack.
With just 5 wickets in 7 games, he averaged 41.20 with the ball, which is 18.64 more than his career bowling average in IPL. Economy-wise he conceded 0.2 runs more this season than his overall numbers in IPL combined.
With Malinga coming back, the MI think tank might be tempted to release the Aussie and free up some cash so that they can go for better alternatives, or even repurchase him at a lower price.