At various points during the game against the Lucknow Super Giants, Mumbai Indians skipper Rohit Sharma gave it away. Here was a guy who was thinking that everything that could go wrong for his team was. No matter what they try, nothing is working and all of it has come together in the worst way possible to see MI’s losing streak extend to a scarcely believable eight games.
If relegation was possible in the IPL, five-time champions MI would be prime candidates to go down. The poor batting has hurt the team badly and it was once again in evidence in the game against LSG.
Lucknow Super Giants beat MI by 36 runs with skipper KL Rahul scoring another hundred against his favourite side while Rohit’s 39 was the top score for the home team.
“We haven’t batted well enough in this tournament,” Sharma said after the match. “Whoever plays in the middle needs to take that responsibility and go on to play long innings. Some of the opposition players have done that and that is what is hurting us. One guy needs to ensure that he bats as long as possible.”
Sharma thought MI bowled pretty well to restrict LSG to 168/6 but poor shot selection by the batters let the team down.
“I thought we bowled pretty okay. It wasn’t easy. It was a good pitch to bat on. I thought that score should have been chased down, but we didn’t bat well enough. When you have a target like that, it is important to string partnerships. But for some irresponsible shots in the middle, including mine,” he added.
Left-handed batter Ishan Kishan, who was picked up by Mumbai Indians in the IPL mega auction for a whopping Rs 15.25 crore, has failed to get going too. In eight matches so far, he has managed 199 runs with an average of 28.43 and that hasn’t exactly pleased head coach Mahela Jayawardene.
“Obviously on the field, you have seen that he struggled a bit in the last four games after having a good start in the first few,” said Jayawardene during the virtual post-match press conference. “I have not had a conversation with him yet after this game to figure out what went through his mind on how we wanted to approach it. We have given him freedom to play his natural game which he probably has not executed well in the last few games.”
Jayawardene added: “We have had conversations with him, even today when Rohit was batting well, he struggled. That is a conversation I have to have with him after this game. But, yeah, definitely not what we are looking for from him up at the top.”
Time to experiment?
In a way, what’s left of MI’s season can be used to experiment and try out different options. The 2022 season is history and the team can virtually start to focus on 2023.
“Everyone has come into discussion given how our tournament has gone. We need to ensure that we have a settled team and give players in the middle a fair chance,” Sharma said when asked if there is a chance for Tim David to come into the equation.
Sharma added: “Their roles are different when they play for their countries and here we expect something else from them. We tried not to make too many changes, and we have tried to play the best combination possible. But when you lose games, you always have such discussions. As far as I am concerned, I want to give people enough chances to prove themselves. The season hasn’t gone the way we would have wanted it to, but such things happen.”