Brad Hogg has predicted the best playing XI of defending champions Mumbai Indians (MI) in the IPL 2021 season. MI, the most successful franchise in IPL history, have won five titles in the last eight years and once again look like the team to beat.
In a video on his YouTube channel, Brad Hogg explained what kind of combination he foresees the five-time champions opting for this season. According to the former Australian player, Mumbai Indians have the strongest squad in the IPL this year.
The 50-year-old selected MI captain Rohit Sharma and Quinton de Kock as the two openers. The duo has been magnificent for the Mumbai Indians in the past two years and have been instrumental in getting the team off to good starts.
De Kock has proved to be the ideal foil for Rohit Sharma, as the left-hander's belligerent batting allows Sharma to play himself in and bat through the innings. Hogg reckons both could don similar roles for Mumbai Indians this season too. He said in this regard:
"They will have Rohit Sharma and De Kock opening the batting. They both complement each other. Rohit Sharma will be a bit more conservative trying to bat the maximum number of overs. De Kock, his role will be to get the momentum, get off to a good start in the powerplay."
Hogg's top four is completed by two batsmen who recently made their international debuts for India - Suryakumar Yadav and Ishan Kishan. Both of them have been the pillars of the Mumbai Indians' success over the past three seasons.
Yadav has amassed 1416 runs for MI and has batted at different positions according to the team's needs. Meanwhile, Ishan Kishan had a breakout IPL 2020 season, where he was the leading run-getter for the Mumbai Indians with 516 runs.
After slamming fifties in their respective maiden T20I innings against England, both would be brimming with confidence. Hogg believes Mumbai Indians have the most potent top four in the IPL this year.
"Then you have got Suryakumar Yadav and Ishan Kishan coming in at 3 and 4. Both have just got a little bit of international experience and they would be better for that as well," Brad Hogg said.
The engine room of the Mumbai Indians is surely their lower middle-order consisting of the hard-hitting Kieron Pollard and the Pandya brothers, Hardik and Krunal. The three of them have been sensational for MI over the years in providing explosive finishes.
Pollard and Hardik Pandya went berserk last season in the last five overs, making Mumbai Indians the most destructive batting side at the death. Hogg opines that more of the same could happen this season as well, saying:
"Kieron Pollard at 5, Hardik Pandya at 6, and Krunal Pandya at 7 - the powerhouse of this team. Kieron Pollard and Hardik Pandya had a strike rate of over 200 in the last five overs. That is where they took the competition away."
Brad Hogg's bowling combination for Mumbai Indians in IPL 2021
While Mumbai Indians have probably the strongest batting lineup in the IPL, their bowling also rose to the fore last season. Hogg believes the new-ball combination of Jasprit Bumrah and Trent Boult could yet again be crucial for the defending champions, as they pick wickets regularly in the powerplay.
The 50-year-old feels Nathan Coulter-Nile could do the job of the third seamer and knows how to use the long handle. However, Hogg raised a few eyebrows by selecting Piyush Chawla instead of Rahul Chahar.
Although Chahar has been brilliant for MI, Brad Hogg believes Chawla would add experience and is more likely to pick wickets in a cluster. He feels the leg-spinner would add another dimension to an already threatening MI bowling attack.
"Nathan Coulter-Nile will come in at 8. He can be handy with the bat as well. I think Piyush Chawla will be in the starting XI. He is the third leading wicket-taker in the competition and will add wicket-taking depth, with Boult and Bumrah at the other end," Brad Hogg opined.
Brad Hogg's Mumbai Indians' best playing XI for IPL 2021
Rohit Sharma (c), Quinton de Kock (wk), Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan, Kieron Pollard, Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Piyush Chawla, Trent Boult, Jasprit Bumrah.
Mumbai Indians will open their IPL 2021 campaign against Royal Challengers Bangalore on April 9th in Chennai.