Interview of Cricket Fans – 64 – MI

Mumbai Indians just won their 5th IPL trophy, how are you feeling?

It’s a really great feeling to successfully defend the title. Winning in a non-odd year makes it even sweeter, but that’s what Mumbai Indians is known for, breaking the odds. Before season many had written us off because of lack of experienced spinner. That’s what makes MI different on other teams, we concentrate on using existing resources well instead of looking at what we don’t have. Last time in 2014 we lost all our 5 matches at UAE & won the title this time, so overall it’s a great feeling.

It was their typical start to the season with a loss to CSK, but then they kept on winning and also became table toppers for the second time in a row.

It was nothing new that MI lost the opening match of the season, we are used to it since 2013. MI lost 2 of 1st 3 games this season but still kept on playing with the same set of players, that’s the best thing about this team, they know their match-winners & stick to them irrespective of form. De Kock had a poor start to the season but the team kept playing him & as a result, he turned out to be our one of the best batsman this season. Kishan was a big flop last season but turned out to be clear match-winner this season. Players in this team aren’t insecure about their place, that’s the biggest reason MI have topped the table most times in IPL history.

Who has been the most impressive player for you this season?

It’s a tough choice between Ishan Kishan & Jasprit Bumrah for me, but I will talk about Ishan Kishan here as good season from Bumrah is nothing new. Scoring 475+ runs in just 13 innings with a healthy strike rate of 140+ tells much about his impact in this season. He struck most sixes in this season in a team containing Hardik & Pollard, just extraordinary stuff. His every good knock was impact knock this season. His ability to hit pacers & spinners equally well sets him apart from most of the other youngsters. He looks matured now & I feel he is ready to have a go in international T20 Cricket now. His aggressive mindset is needed in current Indian outdated T20 setup. As a Mumbai Indians fan, I was relieved because he was turning out to be flop signing till last season, but he has come back too strongly this season.

Bumrah – Boult have given headaches to a lot of batsmen, few words for this duo?

Of course, Bumrah & Boult combined picked up 50+ wickets this season, I don’t think any other duo had done same in the past in an IPL season. If you go back in time just before IPL, many experts were not picking Boult in playing XI of MI but he answered well by performance, though it wasn’t a surprise for me as a bowler like Boult can trigger a collapse of opposition in a matter of 1-2 overs & he did exactly that in few matches. Boult pairing up with Bumrah made it even more lethal combo. Boult with new ball & Bumrah in any phase of innings, it’s probably best combination one can think of in limited-overs currently.

How impressive has Rohit Sharma been as captain?

Rohit has been excellent as captain in this season just like other seasons. The best thing about Rohit as captain of MI is that he has found a successful formula which is working well for years and he doesn’t like to unnecessarily change it, that formula is one overseas opener, Pollard & two overseas pacers. MI didn’t have the best bowling attack on paper but it looked like one due to proper utilisation of bowlers. Boult had a pretty average record in IPL before this season but this season he was beast, the reason being Rohit not exposing him much at death which other captains did in the past. The way he hides Krunal sometimes by bringing Pollard for 1-2 over spell. In batting, he makes sure that Pandya doesn’t come too early which allows him to play his natural game and use Krunal to fill the middle overs in case of top-order collapse so that Pandya & Pollard come at death only, as a result, Pandya & Pollard were best finisher duo this season. Apart from these, not changing team unnecessarily got the best out of everyone this season as there was no insecurity among players regarding their place. 5 titles in 8 years as captain is enough to describe his Captaincy.

Which are your favourite moments this season?

Ishan Kishan coming back from injury against RCB & scoring 99 run knock, he along with Pollard’s 60 off 24 balls did almost impossible, 80 runs were required in last 4 overs but took the match to super over, showed never say die attitude of MI. Winning 5 consecutive matches was a memorable moment as last time when MI came to UAE, they lost all 5 matches, another example that MI always pay their dues. And last but not the least, successfully defending the title to become 5-time Champions. I will always remain indebted to this franchise for giving so many memorable moments in 13 years. Always a Loyal MI Fan.

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