Four players Mumbai Indians should sign in the IPL auction

Mumbai Indians, who narrowly missed out on reaching the playoffs in 2018 IPL, will look to get back to winning ways and win their fourth IPL title next year. Going into the IPL auction, which is scheduled for December 18, Mumbai have released a handful of players and have traded Quinton de Kock from Royal Challengers Bangalore. They will have to bring in some reinforcements in the auction to become a complete squad.

Released players: Saurabh Tiwary, Pradeep Sangwan, Mohsin Khan, MD Nidheesh, Sharad Lumba, Tajinder Singh Dhillon, JP Duminy, Pat Cummins, Mustafizur Rahman, Akila Dananjaya.

Retained players: Rohit Sharma (C), Hardik Pandya, Evin Lewis, Jasprit Bumrah, Krunal Pandya, Ishan Kishan (WK), Suryakumar Yadav, Mayank Markande, Rahul Chahar, Anukul Roy, Siddhesh Lad, Aditya Tare, Kieron Pollard, Ben Cutting, Mitchell McClenaghan, Adam Milne, Jason Behrendorff.

Let us take a look at four players who Mumbai Indians should sign in the IPL auction.

Jaydev Unadkat

In the last season, Mumbai Indians had only Jasprit Bumrah as their leading Indian pacer with the backup Hardik Pandya, who played alongside Bumrah in almost all the matches and Pradeep Sangwan. Now that Mumbai have released Sangwan, they need a backup Indian fast bowler for Bumrah.

They will look to invest more money to get one as Hardik and Bumrah are unlikely to play all the matches keeping the World Cup in mind and the new bowler will be needed to do the job for Mumbai. The auction pool has quite a lot of good Indian bowlers who have been released by their old franchises. The prominent names are Jaydev Unadkat, Mohit Sharma and Mohammed Shami.

Shami, like Bumrah, could be asked to rest keeping the World Cup in mind and among Mohit and Unadkat, the latter seems to be a better choice as he is equally good with the new ball and in the death overs as he has a lot of variations up his sleeves. If Mumbai manages to land Unadkat, he will be a perfect like-for-like replacement for Bumrah.

Ben Laughlin

In the last IPL auction, Mumbai signed three quality overseas bowlers in Mustafizur Rahman, Pat Cummins and Jason Behrandorff. Unfortunately, both Dorff and Cummins could not play a single game as they were ruled out of the tournament due to respective injuries.

Ahead of the 2019 IPL, Mumbai retained only Dorff as BCB did not allow Mustafizur to play overseas leagues till 2020 while Cummins could be asked to rest by Cricket Australia keeping the World Cup in mind. Mumbai will look to get at least one quality overseas fast bowler and they should not look beyond Australian pacer Ben Laughlin for that spot.

Laughlin is one of the most underrated bowlers in the format as he has done well for his teams in the Big Bash League. Laughlin is a reliable death bowler and he could be a valuable addition to the side as he can support Bumrah in the death overs and if the Indian pacer is injured, he can take the full responsibility and lead the bowling attack.

Axar Patel

Axar Patel, who was a part of the Indian limited-overs side a few months back, should consider himself unlucky as he has been shown the exit door in spite of not getting chances to prove himself. Now, he is out of the Indian side and adding to that, he was released by Kings XI after he became the only player to be retained by the franchise ahead of the 2018 edition.

Now, he is set to enter the auction pool and is likely to fetch a huge amount. Axar is more of a bowling all-rounder, who can give his skipper four good overs match after match. Adding to that, the experienced Gujarat star has the ability to score some quick runs with the bat and a safe fielder.

Mumbai might not have the services of their star all-rounders Hardik and Krunal Pandya throughout the IPL as they are in contention for a place in the World Cup squad and if this is the case, someone like Axar could be a valuable addition to their side.

Zahir Khan

Last season, Mumbai Indians went into the IPL with Krunal Pandya, Mayank Markande and Rahul Chahar as the spinners. Krunal Pandya was their most experienced spinner in the squad and the reality is Krunal is not a first-choice spinner. Though he is really effective, he is not someone who can win matches for his team with the ball.

Mayank Markande had a good start to his IPL career but faded out in the later stages of the tournament. Mumbai will look to strengthen their spin department and will look to get an overseas spinner to do the job for them.

Rajasthan Royals surprised everyone by picking Afghanistan Chinaman bowler Zahir Khan but the youngster was ruled out of the tournament after suffering an injury. Now, the Royals have released the Chinaman and the Afghan international will be entering the auction pool.

Mumbai Indians should look to invest in the teenager as he is capable of winning matches for his teams on his own, something that the fans have already seen in the Vitality Blast, Afghanistan T20 league etc.

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