James Neesham has expressed his happiness at joining five-time IPL champions Mumbai Indians (MI) for the upcoming season. The New Zealand all-rounder was snapped up by MI at the IPL 2021 auction for his base price of INR 50 lakhs. Experts and analysts believe the signing is another smart move by the defending champions.
In a video on MI's official Instagram account, James Neesham revealed he is delighted to be a part of the star-studded squad. The Kiwi also expressed his appreciation for the die-hard MI fans who always back their team to the fullest.
The 30-year-old is hoping to help MI win a hat-trick of IPL titles. Here is what the Kiwi all-rounder had to say:
What does James Neesham bring to this MI team?
James Neesham made his IPL debut back in 2014 for the Delhi Daredevils, where he played just 4 games, scored 42 runs and picked up a solitary wicket. It took another six years for the Kiwi all-rounder to make a comeback to the cash-rich league.
He was then snapped up by a new-look Kings XI Punjab (now Punjab Kings) side. However, he didn't receive consistent game time and was far from impressive in the few games that he played.
Playing just 5 games for the Mohali-based franchise, James Neesham scored just 19 runs and picked up a couple of wickets at an appalling economy-rate of 9.86. It wasn't surprising that his employers didn't feel the need to retain him ahead of the 2021 season.
Although looked likely that the New Zealander would go unsold this time around, MI swooped in with a bid at his base price and faced no competition for his signature.
Although he hasn't proved his mettle in the IPL yet, Neesham has been an impact player for New Zealand with both bat and ball. He also looked in decent touch in the recently-concluded Dream11 Super Smash, where his rampant Wellington team won the title.
James Neesham could be an ideal backup for the likes of Kieron Pollard, if the Caribbean powerhouse injures himself or fails to find form. It remains to be seen whether the 30-year-old Kiwi can redeem himself in the IPL this time around.