Mumbai Indians skipper Rohit Sharma reflected that veteran pacer Lasith Malinga will be severely missed by the side in their title defence. He also heaped praise on the Sri Lankan saying that his past performances for the Mumbai franchise had been “unbelievable”.
The 37-year-old had earlier pulled out of the 13th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) owing to personal reasons.
“I don't think it is easy to come and fill his boots. He has been a match-winner for Mumbai. I have said it many times. Whenever we sort of find ourselves in trouble, Malinga was the one to bail us out from that. His experience will be missed. What he did with MI is unbelievable and it is unfortunate that he is not a part of the team this year,” Rohit Sharma said in a pre-season online press conference.
Rohit Sharma revealed that the team management is looking at the likes of James Pattinson, Dhawal Kulkarni and Mohsin Khan to do a job similar to that of Malinga, but he understands that it is not going to be easy.
"We have got the likes of (James) Pattinson, Dhawal Kulkarni, Mohsin (Khan); and these are the names that we are looking to replace Malinga with. But, obviously, what Malinga did for Mumbai, it is not just comparable,” he added.
Lasith Malinga has picked up 170 wickets from 122 matches in his IPL career at an economy rate of just over 7. He was exceptional even in the 2019 season where he picked up 16 wickets from 12 matches with two 4-wicket hauls.
Adapting to the conditions in the UAE will be a challenge: Rohit Sharma
Rohit Sharma opined that adapting to conditions in the UAE will be a challenge for the team. He believes that there aren’t many players in the line-up with enough experience of playing in these conditions.
The 33-year-old added that the game plan for the team must be based on the pitch and the conditions at hand.
“Eventually the pitches here are going to play a big part and to understand that and adapt quickly and play to your potent, play according to what is being asked of is very crucial here. based on that, you need to plan your game – whether it is your batting or bowling. So we have had a good chat around the group about that,” Rohit Sharma said.
Defending champions Mumbai Indians take on the runners-up from 2019, Chennai Super Kings, in the IPL 2020 opener on Saturday. While MI will miss the services of Lasith Malinga, CSK won’t have Suresh Raina and Harbhajan Singh in their squad, after both of them opted out citing personal reasons.Published 18 Sep 2020, 13:25 IST