Naman Ojha expounded on why Mumbai Indians are the most successful IPL franchise. The former cricketer applauded Mumbai Indians for retaining their core and believes the strategy is the secret to their success.
The wicket-keeper batsman has faced Mumbai Indians several times throughout his career. Part of the IPL for almost 10 years, with the Rajasthan Royals, Delhi Daredevils and Sunrisers Hyderabad, Naman Ojha recently announced his retirement from all forms of cricket.
“Hats off to Rohit (Sharma). He has not changed the core of the team. They (Mumbai Indians) make sure the core remains the same. That is the most important thing in the T20s. Mumbai Indians haven’t changed their core. That’s why they’re so successful in the IPL,” Naman Ojha said.
Known for having a strong core group of players, Mumbai Indians have reaped the benefits of their side’s stability in recent years. Thanks to a combination of international stars and experienced Indian players, Mumbai Indians have won three IPL titles in the last four years.
Rohit Sharma has been with the team since 2011, leading the team to 5 IPL titles, the most of any team. Players like Kieron Pollard have been with the side for over a decade, bringing much-added experience and stability to the side.
The franchise’s extensive scouting network has worked out well for Mumbai Indians as well. With players like Jasprit Bumrah, Ishan Kishan and the Pandya brothers coming into the side, Mumbai Indians have given youngsters the time to settle in and flourish on the big stage. Naman Ojha believes Mumbai Indians’ long-term vision is what sets them apart from other IPL franchises.
“If you see the other teams, they keep on changing around 5 players. But in Mumbai Indians, there are 6-8 players that remain fixed in the team. They’ve won 3 titles in the last 5 years because they haven’t changed the core of the team. They buy the player with the belief that he will be with us for the next 5-8 years. That’s the belief they have while picking players,” he continued.
Naman Ojha also stressed the importance of showing faith in your players. In the fast-paced and electric T20 format where players are given the short rope more often than not, Ojha explained the benefits of backing your players for longer.
“You can’t give two chances and then drop a player. If the franchise feels a player is good enough to play T20 cricket, he should be given a long run of 7-10 matches. Then only he can perform,” claimed the former cricketer.
Suggesting trusting players is beneficial for both players and franchise, Naman Ojha admitted constantly changing playing elevens in the shortest format can adversely impact players.
“If you keep on changing players, they don’t have the confidence to play in T20s. Then they don’t back their shots. A franchise in T20 wants that the player should back their style of play,” he opined.
Naman Ojha reflects on IPL 2016 win
Naman Ojha was famously part of Sunrisers Hyderabad’s victorious 2016 campaign. The side beat favourites Royal Challengers Bangalore by 8 runs in the final. Naman Ojha, who played 17 games for SRH that year, pointed out how using just 13 players throughout the season helped them win the crown.
“If you see in that season, we had played only 13 players. We didn’t change the core of the team. Hardly one or two changes were made, only when required. I think 9-1o players remained the same, only 1 player changed,” signed off Naman Ojha.