Jayawardene: Mumbai Indians executed its plans quite well

Reveals that he had a chat with Rohit Sharma before the Johannesburg Test.

Mahela Jayawardene... “We, as a group, are quite happy with what we have achieved in the auction.”   -  K. V. S. Giri

Minutes after an exhausting two-day IPL player auction, Mahela Jayawardene, the coach of the defending champion, explained the rejig of players from the Mumbai Indians’ perspective. Excerpts:

Question: How would you sum up the auction?

Answer: We had a plan. It was a bit risky, but I think we executed it quite well. Earlier on, it was a frantic (period), a lot of people went for a lot of players. We knew we were not in the market at that prices, so we pulled out. Obviously, everyone knew that we would going to RTM for Krunal (Pandya). He came in the 10th set (ninth), so we had to have money.

Can you elaborate on the risky plan?

Since everyone knew who our two RTMs were, we were pretty much out in the open. A lot of our players were bought by other franchises, so we knew we had to look elsewhere for options. I think, overall, the strategy we planned worked. We probably missed out on a few players, but that was always going to happen in an auction.

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Since you were expected to use RTM for Krunal, did the other teams inflate his price tag?

No. He had a value given the contribution he has made for us with bat and ball. We knew it was going to be a high price and we were ready because he does two jobs for us. And Hardik being in the same team, these two operate together really well.

Is there a bit of concern with the wicket-keeper’s slot?

Ishan [Kishan] was a guy we always had in mind because even in the camp (trials), he did really well. Even as a batsman, he would have fitted into our plans really well. Jos (Buttler) is a call we had to make about the price tag as he will be unavailable next season. When we missed out on him, we went for Ishan. We always back young talent at Mumbai Indians and we have produced three outstanding cricketers in Hardik, Bumrah and Krunal.

As it happened: 2018 Auction, Day two

Did you speak to Rohit [Sharma] before and during the auction?

We had a chat with Rohit before the Johannesburg Test as we didn’t want to disturb him after that. I had a meeting with him in Sri Lanka when the Indians were touring (last July-August). We, as a group, are quite happy with what we have achieved in the auction.

The steal of the day and the biggest miss?

I don’t think there was much of a disappointment as such. I think the two steals for us would be Pollard who came at a reasonable price and the fees we got Evin Lewis and Ben Cutting for. Also The Fizz [Mustafizur] at that price on Saturday and Pat Cummins, considering the Wankhede wicket. I am not disappointed except for Sanju and KL [Rahul], but the way it panned out, it was always going to be difficult to get them.

Pandya stays back at Mumbai for Rs. 8.8 crore deal

How many of your first-choice domestic signings did you manage to get?

Ishan was obviously on our radar. Rahul Chahar and Mayank (Markande)... we were quite impressed with those two leg-spinners. I was not sure whether we would get both of them but it worked out brilliantly. With the fast bowlers, Pradeep came in and bowled really well in the trials and he has the experience, so we thought we could bank on him. We have backed two young Indian fast bowlers — Mohsin (Khan) and (M.D.) Nidheesh. Having those trials gives us an opportunity to have a closer look at players and their mindset and it helps. We have done it in the past as well. That is how Bumrahsand Hardiks have come through.