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Updated: April 7, 2011 22:23 IST

Mumbai Indians ready to fire

G.Viswanath
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Sachin Tendulkar
Sachin Tendulkar

Mumbai Indians (MI) used the retention rule to its advantage and ensured that the core members remained in the team for the 2011 and 2012 seasons.

On top of the heap is the formidable Sachin Tendulkar. The owner of the Mumbai franchise did not let the champion batsman slip through the auction process to another team. Clearly, the Ambanis wanted the reliability and identity factor of the team largely revolve around the greatest modern cricketer. There may have been a million cricketing reasons for them to keep the prized possession at any cost.

But the sheer fact that Tendulkar was the most famous Mumbaikar and the magic he can produce to bring the supporters to the turnstiles was raison d'être enough for the last season’s runner-up to position Tendulkar as the poster boy of the team for two more seasons.

West Indies’ blockbuster batsmen Kieron Pollard, the feisty off-spinner Harbhajan Singh and the Sri Lankan fast bowler Lasith Malinga were the others retained. Having spent half the money ($ 4.5 million) in retaining the players, MI made aggressive selections in Rohit Sharma and Andrew Symonds at the auction, both match winners by their own right. Disappointed at not being able to get Zaheer Khan, MI managed to buy out Munaf Patel, who had a successful stint for three years with Rajasthan Royals.

MI also retained India uncapped player Ambati Rayudu (he also kept wicket in the last season) and Rajagopal Satish all of whom had some role to play in the team’s progress to the final last year. It has also retained local wicket-keeper Aditya Tare, left arm spinner Ali Murtuza and fast medium bowler Abu Nechim. MI has options to pick Dhawal Kulkarni (seamer), Pawan Suyal (left arm seamer), Yuzvendra Chahal (leg spinner), Sarul Kanwar (opening batsman), T. Suman (middle order) and Suryakumar Yadav (middle order). Apart from Pollar and Symonds the overseas players in the squad are Aiden Blizzard, David Jacobs, Dilhara Fernando and James Franklin.

MI’s batting segment is awesome with Tendulkar, Pollard, Symonds, Sharma and Rayudu; add to this James Franklin who has the ability to hit the ball hard and long.

Tendulkar will also have the additional option to use Pollard, Symonds and Franklin for four overs each and with Malinga, Munaf Patel and Harbhajan too likely to play majority of the matches, the bowling department too appears secured.

Squad: Sachin Tendulkar, Rohit Sharma, Aditya Tare, Ambati Rayudu, Dhawal Kulkarni, Rajagopal Satish, Andrew Symonds, James Franklin, Kieron Pollard, Lasith Malinga, Harbhajan Singh, Munaf Patel, Ali Murtuza,Pawan Suyal, Suryakumar Yadav, Tirumalasetti Suman, Yazvendra Chahal, David Jacobs, Aiden Blizzard,Dilhara Fernando, Abu Nechim, Sarul Kanwar.

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