IPL 2022: Retained players' poor form has hit Mumbai and Kolkata hard

Mumbai Indians have been very badly hit by the poor form of Rohit Sharma and Kieron Pollard, writes Ayaz Memon

By Ayaz Memon

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Mumbai Indians captain Rohit Sharma during the match against Gujarat Titans. (BCCI)
Mumbai Indians captain Rohit Sharma during the match against Gujarat Titans. (BCCI)

Published: Mon 9 May 2022, 12:33 AM

Mumbai Indians retained four players and the results have been a mixed bag. Suryakumar Yadav has been in crackling form, but Jasprit Bumrah, despite being economical, has only taken five wickets from 10 games so far this season.

MI have also been very badly hit by the poor form of Rohit Sharma and Kieron Pollard, the other two retained players. These two stalwarts have played a leading role in their many earlier successes, one as an opener, the other as a finisher. Their slump has not just been a surprise but has been unending. Mumbai’s disastrous performance which sees them at the bottom of the points table currently can be directly traced to this.

Kolkata Knight Riders, while they have more points than Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings, have been even more disappointing than these two marquee teams.

It took a long while for CSK and MI to get started this season. While Chennai lost their first four matches, Mumbai registered their first win in their ninth game.

By the time these two IPL giants registered their first wins, they were already on the verge of elimination.

On the other hand, KKR, who began their campaign with three impressive wins in their first four matches, suffered a massive five-game losing slump that pushed them to the brink of elimination.

What seems to have gone wrong for KKR is, in a way, similar to what has gone wrong for MI and CSK. For all three teams, most of the players the franchises retained have failed to deliver.

The idea of player retention comes from appreciation of past performance over several seasons or punting on the potential of young talent.

While the overarching problem is the same, it differs in which kind of retained players have let the team down. For MI, it is the tried and tested Rohit and Pollard. Both have had disastrous seasons, because of which Mumbai have suffered from a lack of runs at the start of the innings as well as at the death.

The problem seems to be similar to that of CSK. It is the failure of all-rounder Venkatesh Iyer and mystery spinner Varun Chakravarthy, two players that got into the India T20 squad on the back of their splendid form in the previous two IPL seasons, that has hurt KKR.

So much so that both lost their places in the KKR playing XI, upsetting the team’s balance as well as tactics.

Retained players who have succeeded for these teams are Suryakumar for MI, Andre Russell and, to some extent, spin maestro Sunil Narine for KKR.

In tonight’s clash, these three could play decisive roles for their respective teams.

MI are out of the running for a place in the playoffs, but they are going into tonight’s match on the back of two back-to-back wins which suggests a belated turnaround.

KKR suffered a crushing defeat in their previous match, yet have a slender chance of still making the cut. In the light of how they’ve been performing, something special will be required to win. A do-or-die effort, as they say.

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