The Indian Premier League auction on December 19 will see teams bidding for more than 300 players to fill up 73 slots (with 29 of those for overseas players). This is a mini-auction with some teams opting to retain bulk of their side while a few have opted for a revamp. The auction for IPL 2021 will offer teams a chance to reset their squads so this year, it will be about preparing for just the upcoming season and not exactly looking at the long haul. In this series, we take a look at what teams need for the upcoming season.

When Mumbai Indians get it together, they are unstoppable. But if there is anything they would like to remedy then it would be their tendency to fall asleep early in the season. This is a team that takes time to rouse itself but it has, as the successful 2019 campaign showed, almost every area covered.

An astute captain, great allrounders and an even better bowling attack. Mumbai made the right moves in the transfer market, getting in Dhawal Kulkarni, Shane Rutherford and Trent Boult. If anything, they enter the auction with most of their bases covered.

Purse remaining: Rs 13.05 crores

Remaining slots: 7

Overseas slots: 2

Released players: Adam Milne, Alzarri Joseph, Barinder Sran, Ben Cutting, Beuran Hendricks, Evin Lewis, Jason Behrendorff, Pankaj Jaswal, Rasikh Dar, Yuvraj Singh

Current MI squad composition

Batsmen Bowlers Allrounders Wicketkeepers
Rohit Sharma Dhawal Kulkarni Hardik Pandya Ishan Kishan
Sherfane Rutherford Jasprit Bumrah Jayant Yadav Quinton de Kock
Suryakumar Yadav Lasith Malinga Kieron Pollard Aditya Tare
Anmolpreet Singh Mitchell McClenaghan Krunal Pandya
Rahul Chahar Anukul Roy
Trent Boult

Strengths of current squad

The bowling line-up is outstanding. Jasprit Bumrah is the spearhead, Lasith Malinga is the wily veteran, Trent Boult the left-arm swing bowler capable of picking up wickets at the start and the death. They have good back-up for them too in the form of Mitchell McClenaghan and Dhawal Kulkarni. On the spin bowling front, Rahul Chahar and Krunal Pandya are solid performers. And then, there are the allrounders – three high-quality players that give this MI unit a lot of flexibility.

The batting still seems overtly reliant on Rohit Sharma but Quinton de Kock and Suryakumar Yadav had solid seasons last time around. The latter is in the form of his life currently in the domestic season and could use the IPL to break the door down for national selection. Sherfane Rutherford can be pretty devastating with the bat when he gets going and is a shrewd addition to the squad.

What the team needs at the auction

This team needs a big-hitter at the top of the order. Evin Lewis essayed that role for them in the past but Chris Lynn could also do the job for them. He has been in great form but his problem in the IPL has always been fitness. Also, the ball does tend to fly a great distance at the Wankhede and it all adds up. In Tom Banton, they have a MI fan ready to announce to his arrival to the world’s most popular T20 league should they take a punt on the Englishman.

The other player that MI may target could be Glenn Maxwell. A bit of a maverick with the bat but he gets going quickly, can bowl a few overs and is one of the best fielders in the world. He has made himself available after taking a break from the game due to mental health issues.

David Miller might an interesting buy too as too could Aaron Finch. It all comes down to what part of the line-up the team management is really looking strengthen but for now, the batting could use a little help and that should be their area of focus.

Having released Mayank Markande, MI could also look at an overseas option as a back-up to Rahul Chahar and Hayden Walsh Jr could be worth a bid from the defending champions. If not an overseas spinner, a back-up for Malinga would be on the agenda for Rohit’s men (having released Alzarri Joseph) with Pat Cummins or Sheldon Cottrell there for the bidding.

The team might also be worried about the workload Hardik Pandya can take when he returns from injury and as a left-field option, could look at Stuart Binny for that role if they decide to bring an overseas batsman and spinner for their two slots.

Once again, Mumbai Indians have a settled squad and will be expected to look for value buys to complete their squad.