The Mumbai Indians are the most successful team in IPL history. They have five titles over the last ten years, including back-to-back titles in 2019 and 2020. Over the course of the team's history, they have had world-class players like Mitchell Johnson, Kevin Pietersen, and Sachin Tendulkar.
Despite a huge number of talented players, they currently sit bottom of the IPL table, with only two wins from their first eleven games on the season. With a huge negative NRR of -0.894, the chances of the top four are pretty much over for the Indians. So how did they get into this bad shape?
Mumbai Indians 2022 Season So Far
The 2022 IPL season began with big changes with the introduction of the Gujurat Titans and the Lucknow Super Giants. This meant a super auction to begin the season and the Indians had a big rejig. They held onto Rohit Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah, Suryakumar Yadav, and Kieron Pollard. They also resigned Ishan Kishan. Some of their other business looked very promising, signing English pair Tymal Mills and Jofra Archer as well as bringing in hitters Tim David and Fabian Allen. All of this business looked positive, but Mumbai got off to an awful start to the 2022 season.
They have always been a team that starts poorly, but their results have meant that after eleven games, they have been eliminated from top-four contention.
Reasons For Their Struggles
It seemed like Mumbai had a very good auction. It was clear from early on in the process that they would not be letting their superstars go. Mahela Jayawardene was pretty clear about the fact that he was certain of keeping the same core and that is exactly what their retentions did. Rohit Sharma was always going to remain captain and there was no way Mumbai would let go of Jasprit Bumrah.
Their other two retentions were the more interesting. Suryakumar Yadav makes a lot of sense, as the 31-year-old has been crucial to the Indian's success since re-joining the team in 2018. His great form had produced 21 Indian caps in the last two years, so Yadav is In his best form.
Kieron Pollard has been with the team since 2010 and it seemed unlikely that he would be leaving. Returning Ishan Kishan made a lot of sense, but they paid a very large price for his return. The team's aggressive bidding made Kishan the most expensive purchase of the 2022 auction and fourth all-time.
It meant that their pulling power was massively reduced toward the later rounds. More spending meant that a crucial piece had to walk. Losing Hardik Pandya looks like a huge disappointment for Mumbai. Hardik represented Mumbai in 92 games, scoring excellently through the middle overs as well as contributing with the ball.
His leadership has also been made very clear since leaving. After being released, Pandya was drafted by the new Gujarat Titans and was made the team's captain. It was a move that worked out very well for the Titans as they have already qualified for the top four and Pandya is performing excellently.
It really seems as though this move was a big loss for Mumbai. But it was not necessarily their only mistake from the 2022 auction.
Not Playing Big Spends
One of the stranger parts of the Mumbai Indian's struggles this season is their team selections. Tim David was their second biggest spend and yet has only played five games for the Indians. Dewald Brevis was another big purchase, but he has only featured in six of their games this season.
Some of this is of course not their fault. After finishing fifth last season, it was clear that Mumbai is planning for the future. Rohit Sharma, Kieron Pollard, and Suryakumar Yadav are all over the age of 30 and can’t keep playing in the IPL for much longer. That is why a lot of their auction was spent on future talent.
Jofra Archer was the biggest example of this. The English speedster could be the best T20 bowler in the world as well as being a help with the bat. Archer already has three seasons in the IPL, winning the MVP award in 2020 despite his Rajasthan Royals finishing bottom of the table.
However, Archer has been out for the last year thanks to different elbow operations, most recently in December of 2021. These injuries put a stop to some brilliant cricket coming from Archer. But he was never going to be able to help Mumbai this season. Fabian Allen and Tymal Mills were big pickups for Mumbai but they have both featured sparingly.
If you were to boil it down to one major reason, the stars of Mumbai struggling has been a huge reason why the Indians are in the position they are now. Captain Rohit Sharma has been particularly disappointing.
Having featured in all eleven games so far this season, he is only averaging 18 with the bat which puts him down in 69th, behind seven of his teammates. 200 runs in eleven innings is a very poor record for a batsman who is the third-highest run scorer in IPL history. Pollard’s form has also been very poor as Mumbai has been terrible at finishing games. Pollard is averaging 14 with the bat, an abysmal record. When your superstars are struggling, it is always going to hurt the team.
Jasprit Bumrah has put in some good performances, but he is still only 25th for wickets taken this season.
It is hard to put it down to exactly one reason why the Indians are struggling this season. It is clear that in planning for 2022, the future was clearly in mind. If players like Archer, Brevis, and Kishan are to be a part of their core in the future, they need time to bed in. So while this season has been a write-off, it is clear that Mumbai is in a rebuilding time at the moment.