Mumbai Indians: A formidable force

In the last two seasons, Mumbai Indians failed to fire from the start but still made it to the playoffs. Come April 9, and the team would be hoping to get its act right from the word go.

Mumbai Indian players celebrate on defeating Chennai Super Kings in the final of the 2015 Indian Premier League at Eden Gardens. With its core intact, the Mumbai outfit is a strong contender once again this season.   -  K. R. DEEPAK

Dwayne Bravo will be donning the Gujarat Lions jersey this season,but his popular number “We are the champions” could perhaps continue to play in the Mumbai Indians camp even after the conclusion of World Twenty20. After all, the most expensive of the original eight IPL franchises is all set to defend its title. With its core intact — as it has been for a few seasons now — Rohit Sharma’s boys will be a formidable force yet again!

The Mumbai side didn’t approach the pre-season player auction with its guns blazing.

Instead, it just plugged a few holes by getting a few big names on its roster. The biggest catch was Jos Buttler, the England wicketkeeper-batsman, who has proved his worth in Indian conditions during the World T20. It would be interesting to see if Buttler is preferred in the starting line-up over Lendl Simmons.

The other big signing was Tim Southee. The seasoned campaigner from New Zealand may not have got a game during his side’s WT20 campaign, but he will be a good back-up pacer if Lasith Malinga doesn’t recover in time for the tournament.

The signing of Nathu Singh, the Rajasthan pacer who has been the find of the just concluded domestic season, may also give a breather to Jasprit Bumrah should the fast bowler need a break.

Besides Malinga’s fitness, the only major concern for Mumbai Indians would be its inability to get off the blocks quickly.

In the last two seasons, Mumbai Indians failed to fire from the start but still made it to the playoffs. Come April 9, and the team would be hoping to get its act right from the word go.

Squad: Rohit Sharma (capt.), Corey Anderson, Jasprit Bumrah, Jos Buttler, Unmukt Chand, Marchant de Lange, Shreyas Gopal, Harbhajan Singh, Kishore Kamath, Siddhesh Lad, Mitchell McClenaghan, Lasith Malinga, Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Parthiv Patel, Kieron Pollard, Deepak Punia, Nitish Rana, Jitesh Sharma, Ambati Rayudu, Nathu Singh, Lendl Simmons, Tim Southee, Jagadeesha Suchith, Vinay Kumar, Akshay Wakhare.