IPL 2020: Rohit Sharma, Quinton de Kock to continue to open for Mumbai Indians

Mumbai Indians head coach Mahela Jayawardene admits there are no plans to change the opening pair despite the presence of Chris Lynn.

Rohit Sharma (second from right), Quinton de Kock (third from right) and others at a training session in the UAE. - MUMBAI INDIANS

Rohit Sharma and Quinton de Kock will continue to open the innings for Mumbai Indians in this edition of the Indian Premier League, which begins from Saturday.

In an interaction from Abu Dhabi - where the team is stationed - on Thursday, Mumbai Indians head coach Mahela Jayawardene admitted that even though the team has roped in Chris Lynn this time around, there are no plans to change the opening pair for now.

“Having options is always great. Lynny is a great addition to the squad, but the combination of Ro and Quinton has been phenomenal for us last season. They complement each other very well, it has been very consistent and both are very well experienced cricketers, good leaders. Why would you fix something if it is not broken?,” Jayawardene said.

“We will continue to go with that, but having Lynny as an option gives us flexibility in the squad. That’s what we have always done over the last few years and add more value and options to the team so that we can be unpredictable when it comes to different matches. But Quinton and Ro as a combination has been brilliant for us,” the former Sri Lanka captain said.

‘All options open’

Rohit, too, admitted that he was gearing up to open the innings once again, even though he wanted to keep “options” open.

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“I opened the entire tournament last year and I will continue to do that. Again, I keep all the options open, whatever the team wants, I am happy to do that. I enjoy batting top of the order, I have been doing that for a while. Even when I play for India, the message from my side has always been the same that do not close any doors and keep all the options open. I will do the same here as well,” the India international said.

However, getting used to the conditions in the United Arab Emirates will be a challenge for the Mumbai Indians as not many cricketers have played in those conditions in the past.

‘I opened the entire tournament last year and I will continue to do that. Again, I keep all the options open, whatever the team wants, I am happy to do that.’

“The challenge will be to adapt to these conditions, which probably none of us are used to because not a lot of cricketers from our group have played here. So, it is important to share the information and we have clearly spoken about that, how important (for those who have played to pass on the information). The communication is going to be key here to make sure that we don’t leave anything behind,” the captain said.

“Mentally, it’s about going out there and understanding how the pitch is doing and based on that, you need to plan your game. We played a couple of practice matches and we understood what to expect going out in the middle. The plannings are happening that because pitches are going to play a critical part here, and reading the pitches will be important and giving the information to the team will be very critical as well,” Rohit said.

‘Mentally prepared’

The Indian cricketers have been out of action for the last six months due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and now that IPL is set to begin, the players are keeping themselves mentally strong, despite being inside a bio-bubble.

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“It’s going to be a different IPL. We were mentally prepared for something like this and we had a lot of talks around it and even before we came here, we had all the boys on conference call and we were discussing how do we handle if there’s any bio-bubble. Now that we are here, we know the restrictions and are making sure that we follow all the protocols. Mentally, it is tough but hats off to the Mumbai Indians team management and the support staff - they have done an exceptional job. So, mentally you are fresh, and we have been here for three weeks now and all of us seem to be in a good space…” Rohit said.

The defending champion begins its campaign on Saturday against Chennai Super Kings and Rohit is cautious. “CSK is probably one of the most successful teams. You can’t take them for granted at all. They have got some quality players in their squad and they will come out all guns blazing. None of us have played cricket for a lot of months, so obviously everybody want to start on a high. We will be expecting a great contest between the two teams and we need to focus on what we need to do as a team and make sure that all our bases are covered,” the Mumbai Indians skipper stated.

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