The Mumbai Indians (MI) come into another edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) as the favourites. The 5-time champions, who extended their stronghold over the league by beating the Delhi Capitals in last year's final, have the best squad on paper.
Interestingly, MI had four overseas slots ready to be filled in the 2021 IPL auction. They brought back Nathan Coulter-Nile on a contract cheaper by INR 3 crores, and followed it up with the signings of all-rounders Marco Jansen and Jimmy Neesham.
The final overseas slot in the MI squad was filled by express quick Adam Milne, who has turned out for the franchise before.
MI's squad for IPL 2021: Rohit Sharma, Aditya Tare, Anmolpreet Singh, Anukul Roy, Dhawal Kulkarni, Hardik Pandya, Ishan Kishan, Jasprit Bumrah, Jayant Yadav, Kieron Pollard, Krunal Pandya, Quinton de Kock, Rahul Chahar, Suryakumar Yadav, Trent Boult, Chris Lynn, Saurabh Tiwary, Mohsin Khan, Adam Milne, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Piyush Chawla, Marco Jansen, Yudhvir Singh, James Neesham, Arjun Tendulkar
In this article, we predict the four overseas players in MI's XI for IPL 2021.
Kieron Pollard, Trent Boult, Quinton de Kock guaranteed to be part of MI's playing XI in IPL 2021
A hallmark of all successful IPL sides of the years, MI have a solid overseas core that is set to shine in this year's tournament as well.
Quinton de Kock shrugged off an indifferent start to his IPL campaign to put in a number of vital contributions in the latter stages, and is a lock to not only open the batting but don the keeping gloves as well. His presence will keep Chris Lynn, who isn't the greatest player of spin, out of the team.
West Indies white-ball captain Kieron Pollard has been a part of each of MI's five title triumphs, and he's only getting better with age. He recently hit six sixes in an over in a T20I against Sri Lanka, and remains one of the most dangerous batsmen in the world.
Trent Boult, who finished IPL 2020 as MI's second-highest wicket-taker behind Jasprit Bumrah, is another fixture in the playing XI. The Kiwi left-armer's prowess in the powerplay and smarts at the death have served Rohit Sharma well in the recent past.
Nathan Coulter-Nile, Jimmy Neesham the candidates for the remaining slot
The final spot in the MI playing XI for IPL 2021 is likely to be taken up by a fast-bowling all-rounder. Perhaps the only weakness in the roster is the Indian pace contingent, with Dhawal Kulkarni being the only bowler with IPL experience under his belt apart from Bumrah.
Last year, MI fielded Nathan Coulter-Nile and James Pattinson, who was signed as a replacement for Lasith Malinga. This season as well, Coulter-Nile is the front-runner for the role.
With Hardik Pandya slowly reaching full bowling fitness, though, MI can afford to play Jimmy Neesham if they want to make their batting lineup truly indomitable. With Bumrah and Boult guaranteed to give 4 overs each, MI can back on Hardik, Neesham, Pollard, Krunal Pandya and Rahul Chahar/Piyush Chawla to cover the remaining 16.
But with Krunal's bowling coming under the scanner in the recent past, MI will be well-advised to stick with Coulter-Nile, who is more than good enough to come in at No. 8.
Milne, who offers a new dimension to the attack with his raw pace, is another alternative. But he has an unimpressive IPL record, and MI are likely to place their faith in Coulter-Nile for another season.
VERDICT: Quinton de Kock, Kieron Pollard, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Trent Boult