The Mumbai Indians (MI) are the most decorated team in the history of the Indian Premier League (IPL). The Mumbai-based franchise has won the IPL title on 4 occasions, the most by any team in the history of the prestigious league.
Over the years, MI have built their team around a core set of players with minimal changes to their squad. This strategy has paid the franchise rich dividends, clearly evident in the phenomenal success they have enjoyed in the IPL. The Mumbai franchise has also unearthed some exceptional talents like Hardik Pandya and Jasprit Bumrah, who have gone on to make India proud at the international level.
Our attempt here is to assemble the strongest possible all-time MI XI, comprising players who have represented the franchise in the twelve seasons of the IPL. The team has been put together keeping in mind the IPL rule of not having more than four foreign players in the playing XI.
Without further ado, let us see which players find a spot in the all-time MI XI.
#1: Sachin Tendulkar
Sachin Tendulkar would be one of the openers in this all-time MI XI. The Mumbaikar was the icon player for his home franchise in the inaugural season of the IPL in 2008.
Tendulkar has a pretty decent record in the IPL, although contrary to expectations, he did not set the tournament ablaze. The Master Blaster aggregated 2334 runs for MI at a decent average of 34.83 and a strike rate of 119.81.
His best performance came in IPL 2010, a year in which he bagged the Orange Cap for being the top-scorer in the league. He was also named the Most Valuable Player of the league in the same year.
#2: Quinton de Kock
Quinton de Kock would open the batting along with Tendulkar. The South African was the highest run-scorer for MI in their title winning-run in IPL 2019.
De Kock smashed 529 runs for MI last year in his maiden season for the Mumbai-based franchise. These runs came at an average of 35.26 along with a strike rate of 132.91, clearly demonstrating his consistency and rapid rate of scoring.
The southpaw would also be donning the wicket-keeping gloves for the Mumbai outfit. Lendl Simmons, who has given a good account of himself for MI, could have been another opening option. However, De Kock just clinches the spot due to the dual role he performs.
Middle Order (3-4)
#3: Rohit Sharma
Rohit Sharma would stride out to bat at the fall of the first wicket. Although more accustomed to opening in recent times, the Mumbaikar has batted in the middle-order for the majority of his IPL career. With Tendulkar and De Kock occupying the opening positions, Sharma would be expected to shoulder the responsibility of the middle overs.
Sharma is the highest run-scorer for MI in the history of the IPL. The classy stroke-maker has accumulated 3728 runs for MI, at an average of 31.86 along with a strike rate of 130.62.
The India limited-overs vice-captain, having led MI to all their 4 IPL titles, would undoubtedly be leading this hypothetical MI XI.
#4: Ambati Rayudu
Ambati Rayudu would be the other specialist middle-order batsman in this MI XI. The Hyderabad batsman is the third-highest run-scorer for MI, only behind Sharma and Kieron Pollard.
Rayudu has 2416 runs to his credit for MI, scored at an average of 27.14, along with a strike rate of 126.16. He has played quite a few critical knocks for the Mumbai franchise in crunch situations, including his innings of 37 runs in the IPL 2013 final.
Suryakumar Yadav could be another option as a middle-order batsman, especially considering his excellent performances in the last couple of years. But Rayudu's experience and the understanding he had developed with Pollard in the middle-order would just tilt the balance in his favour.
#5: Kieron Pollard
Kieron Pollard would be the first in a trio of hard-hitting all-rounders in this MI XI. The Trinidadian powerhouse has almost single-handedly changed the course of a match in the Mumbai franchise's favour on innumerable occasions. The most significant of such knocks was his innings of an unbeaten 60 runs in just 32 balls in the IPL 2013 final, that helped MI win their maiden IPL title.
Pollard is the second-highest run-scorer for MI in the history of the league and the highest among overseas batsmen. He has amassed 2755 runs at an average of 28.69 with an incredible strike rate of 146.77, the second-highest among MI batsmen who have faced a minimum of 125 deliveries.
Apart from his exploits with the bat, Pollard is a handy bowler and a dynamic fielder. The burly West Indian has accounted for 56 wickets in the IPL and has also taken some stunning outfield catches.
#6: Hardik Pandya
Hardik Pandya will play the seam-bowling all-rounder's role. The junior Pandya's all-round exploits in the IPL catapulted him into the reckoning for the national team.
Pandya has smashed 1068 runs for MI in the IPL at an average of 28.86. The more telling factor has been his strike rate of 154.78, the highest among all MI batsmen who have faced a minimum of 125 deliveries. He was at his belligerent best in last year's IPL, where he toyed with the opposition bowling, scoring 402 runs at an excellent average of 44.66, along with an outstanding strike rate of 191.42.
Pandya has also accounted for 42 wickets in the IPL at a decent average of 31.26. Although his economy rate of 9.06 is slightly on the higher side, he makes up for it with his ability to strike at crucial junctures.
#7: Krunal Pandya
Krunal Pandya would play the spin-bowling all-rounder's role. Krunal, just like his younger brother Hardik, had also made it through to the Indian team on the back of his all-round performances for MI in the IPL.
The senior Pandya has scored 891 runs in the IPL at an average of 26.20. These runs have come at a brisk strike rate of 146.06, the third-highest for MI in the IPL, only behind Hardik Pandya and Pollard. His most significant performance with the bat was his innings of 47 in the 2017 IPL final, which went a long way in helping MI win their third IPL title.
With the ball in hand, the Baroda left-arm spinner has scalped 40 wickets in the IPL. These wickets have come at a decent average of 28.20 and a more than acceptable economy rate of 7.16.
#8: Harbhajan Singh
Harbhajan Singh would lead the MI spin attack in this all-time XI. The Punjab off-spinner is the highest wicket-taker among Indian bowlers, as well as the highest wicket-taker among spinners for the Mumbai franchise.
Singh has 127 scalps for MI to his credit, with only Lasith Malinga ahead of him. These wickets have come at an average of 26.65 and an exceptional economy rate of 6.95.
The Turbanator, as he is fondly known, has made some handy contributions with the bat as well. His strike rate of 142.42. while scoring 799 runs for MI, is ample evidence of his ball-striking ability.
Rahul Chahar, with his exceptional performances in IPL 2019, could present his case as a spinner in this line-up. But Singh's experience and overall consistent performances for MI would earn him the spot in this all-time XI.
#9: Mitchell Johnson
Mitchell Johnson would provide the firepower in the fast bowling department of this MI XI. The Australian had his greatest moment of glory in the IPL 2017 final, where he defended 7 runs of the last 5 deliveries to help MI win the title by a margin of just 1 run.
Overall, Johnson has picked up 31 wickets for MI in the IPL. These wickets have come at an exceptional average of 19.35 and a decent economy rate of 7.14.
The left-arm quick would provide some much-needed variety to the Mumbai attack and can also provide some quickfire runs down the order.
Mitchell McClenaghan could be the other option for MI as a left-arm pacer, but Johnson would be the preferred option due to his greater consistency and vast experience.
#10: Lasith Malinga
Lasith Malinga would undoubtedly lead the MI pace attack. The Sri Lankan is not only the highest-taker for the Mumbai outfit but also the highest wicket-taker in the history of the IPL.
Malinga has 170 wickets to his credit in the IPL. These wickets have come at an exceptional average of 19.80 and an outstanding economy rate of 7.14, considering that he has bowled most of his overs at the death.
The IPL 2019 final is one among the many matches that Malinga has won for the Mumbai franchise, where he dismissed Shardul Thakur of the final delivery to help MI win the title by the margin of just 1 run. He was also the recipient of the Purple Cap in IPL 2011, a year in which he scalped 28 wickets to finish as the highest wicket-taker.
#11: Jasprit Bumrah
Jasprit Bumrah would take the final spot in this all-time MI XI. The Gujarat pacer has been the Mumbai team's most consistent bowler in the last few seasons. His shrewd mix of yorkers and slower ones have flummoxed the best of batsmen.
Bumrah has taken 82 wickets for MI, the highest for any Indian pace bowler. These wickets have come at a decent average of 26.60 and a more than acceptable economy rate of 7.55, with the majority of his overs being bowled at the end of the innings.
Bumrah was also named the Man of the Match in the IPL 2019 final. Although Malinga put the final nail in the coffin, it was Bumrah's miserly spell of 2/14 in his 4 overs that derailed the CSK chase.
Bumrah and Malinga who would form a lethal bowling pair in this all-time MI XI, with the ability to derail any opposition batting line-up.
Published 04 May 2020, 18:05 IST