What's the story?
With yet another IPL season a few days away, Rohit Sharma returned to his role as the captain of the Mumbai Indians, handling various media commitments in the lead-up to the tournament.
In the pre-season press conference held in Mumbai, the star batsman, when asked about the possible opening combination for this year, said: "I would like to keep the opening combination as a surprise. Evin (Lewis) is good, Ishan is good and our middle order looks strong too".
In case you didn't know...
Last year, the Mumbai Indians had, in their ranks, Lendl Simmons, Parthiv Patel and Jos Buttler, with Rohit Sharma playing in the middle-order. This year, with none of the three retained, the side don't have much to choose from when it comes to the opening slot.
The heart of the matter
While Rohit has opened for the Mumbai Indians in the past, he is likely to bat down the order, with West Indies' Evin Lewis and uncapped Indian wicket-keeper batsman Ishan Kishan making their way to the top of the order. Although both are inexperienced when it comes to the IPL (Lewis, in fact, hasn't played a single IPL game), the lack of options could see them start the proceedings for the Mumbai side.
Mumbai will begin the season as the most successful IPL side ever and will look to defend their title with a win in the opening game against the Chennai Super Kings on April 7.
Coach Mahela Jayawardene has himself admitted that the Mumbai Indians will have to start from scratch: while the side have retained some of their most impactful players this season, it'll be quite a task for them to win their fourth title with a lineup that doesn't look as strong as some of their previous teams.
The Indians have had problems with the opening combination in the past, and while the middle-order is filled with a number of IPL stars, a fragile opening combination could be a major cause for concern.