Admitting that it’s a difficult task to fill Lasith Malinga’s boots because of his ‘unbelievable’ past performances, Mumbai Indians captain Rohit Sharma on Thursday named three fast bowlers who he thinks can do a good job in the Sri Lankan legend’s absence in IPL 2020.
“I don’t think it is easy to come and fill his boots. He has been a match-winner for Mumbai. I have said it many times, whenever we sort of find ourselves in trouble, Malinga was the one to bail us out from that,” Rohit said in a pre-season online press conference. (Also Read: Full coverage of IPL 2020)
The 37-year-old Malinga, who is IPL’s highest wicket-taker with 170 scalps to his credit, has pulled out citing personal reasons in a major blow to the four-time champions. MI will take on the Chennai Super Kings in this season’s lung-opener on September 19 in Abu Dhabi.
“His experience will be missed, what he did with MI is unbelievable and it is unfortunate that he is not a part of the team this year,” Rohit added.
The four-time IPL-winning captain Rohit, however, did mention three names that MI are looking at to replace Malinga.
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“We have got likes – (James) Pattinson, Dhawal Kulkarni, Mohsin (Khan) and these are the names that we are looking to replace Malinga with. But obviously what Malinga did for Mumbai, it is not just comparable,” he added.
Australia’s right-arm seamer James Pattinson is the official replacement for Malinga in the Mumbai Indians’ squad. The tall right-armer is known to for his pace and bounce and he has a good couple of seasons in the Big Bash League.
Dhawal Kulkarni, on the other hand, is a trusted performer in domestic cricket and also in the IPL.
Talking about his own role, Rohit said he will continue to open.
India’s white-ball vice-captain also felt that correct reading of conditions would be crucial to his team’s fortunes.
“The challenge for us will be to adapt to these conditions here which probably none of us are used to, because not a lot of cricketers from our group have played here,” Rohit said.
“I think mentally it is about going out there and understanding what the pitch is doing, and based on that, you need to plan your game – whether it is your batting or bowling. So we have had a good chat around the group about that,” he elaborated.
Rohit also said that not only the spinners but the seamers will also get a lot of assistance in terms of reverse swing.
“…there will be some reverse swing and we have got some good quality in our line-up as well, who can explore that. We have got balance and variety in our bowling attack, so we can use it depending on the conditions and team composition,” he said. Rohit is looking forward to some solid performances from the team’s spinners.
“All these guys, Krunal (Pandya), Rahul (Chahar), Prince Balwant Rai, there are few options, Anukul (Roy) has been part of the team for a while now, so we have quality spin…,” he said.
“All these guys have experience of playing domestic cricket in India, so I hope they can use the experience and do the same for MI,” he added.
(With PTI inputs)
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