Mumbai Indians pins hopes on Markande

Markande, along with leg-spinner Rahul Chahar and left-arm Anukul Roy, carries the responsibility of strengthening the hands of the established bowlers in the team. In fact, the last four matches have shown Markande as a key component of the Mumbai Indians attack.

Mumbai Indians' skipper Rohit Sharma heaped praise on young leg-spinner Mayank Markande.   -  Vivek Bendre

Mumbai Indians is investing in little-known spinners. It was the first franchise to spot Kuldeep Yadav before he earned a place in the Indian team. Axar Patel was another who made his way to the national team after earning the Mumbai Indians cap. It is the now turn of leg-spinner Mayank Markande to be in the news as Mumbai Indians, after three defeats in four matches, looks to redeem its reputation of three-time winner of the Indian Premier League (IPL).

Mumbai Indians meets Rajasthan Royals at the SMS Stadium here on Sunday with the host team playing its sixth match – three losses and two wins. It can be a critical contest for either team at this stage of the tournament. “It’s a fresh team,” said Mumbai Indians batting coach Robin Singh on Rajasthan Royals.

“It's a new game, they have a good side. It's important to make sure that we focus on what we want to do. They're coming out of two back-to-back losses which I'm pretty sure will put some pressure on them. They had a really bad loss against Chennai.”

 

Markande, along with leg-spinner Rahul Chahar and left-arm Anukul Roy, carries the responsibility of strengthening the hands of the established bowlers in the team. In fact, the last four matches have shown Markande as a key component of the Mumbai Indians attack.

His spells of 4-0-23-3 and 4-0-23-4 against Chennai Super Kings and Sunrisers Hyderabad have brought Markande into the limelight. He has a vicious googly which is well concealed and used appropriately. He got Ambati Rayudu with a third-ball googly and then foxed M. S. Dhoni with a wily googly too.

Markande called the shots against Hyderabad by snaring Wriddhiman Saha with a googly, beating Shikhar Dhawan by turn and Manish Pandey by flight. A complete spinner, Markande learnt some hard lessons when Jason Roy and Rishabh Pant gave him the stick. But they were lessons well-learnt.

On a turf that has allowed the spinners to feel at home, Markande could come to play a vital role against Rajasthan Royals, which came a cropper against Kolkata Knight Riders here last Wednesday. For Rajasthan, off-spinner K, Gowtham and leg-spinner Shreyas Gopal would need to raise their game to provide teeth to the attack. It could well turn out to be a battle of spinners on Sunday.