Mumbai Indians: The core factor to success

No team has won the Indian Premier League more than twice. And till the last over, it looked like the trend will continue. However, Mumbai Indians managed to turn the tables on the Rising Pune Supergiant and claim the IPL title for the third title. The fact that MI's three crowns have come in the last five editions makes it a monumental achievement for Rohit Sharma and Co. One of the key reasons in the Mumbai Indians' success is the fact that the franchise has stuck to the core group, both on and off the field. Here is a look at the faces who have been constants in the MI colours since its maiden title in 2013: Photo: PTI
He donned the MI Blues for the first time in 2011 but it was only in 2013 that he took over the captaincy mantle mid-way through the tournament. Ever since taking over the leadership reigns from Ricky Ponting, Rohit – the Hitman – has been instrumental in changing the team's fortunes. The fact all three title triumphs have come under his leadership regime underlines his knack of bringing the best out of youngsters and keeping the flock, which includes some of the legendary cricketers, together. Add to it his successful partnership with multiple head coaches, including John Wright, Ricky Ponting and Mahela Jayawardene, and his exemplary performance with the willow and it's a clear indication that Rohit is the best example of someone leading from the front, on and off the field. Photo: K. R. Deepak
From a teenager with an uncanny action who foxed Virat Kohli on his IPL debut in 2013 to emerging as the nucleus of Mumbai Indians' backbone in 2017, the Ahmedabad youngster has come a long way. The pacer didn't have a big role play in two of MI's previous triumphant campaigns, featuring in just six games in 2013 and 2015 combined. However, a fruitful season of white-ball cricket in India's blues had turned Bumrah into a confident bowler even before MI started its IPL-10 sojourn. And by the end of it, Bumrah had eclipsed the lethal Lasith Malinga as MI's death-over specialist. Photo: Sportzpics
The fact that the Turbanator remains the only player to have played for Mumbai Indians since the inception of the IPL speaks about his importance and ability with the ball – and at times with the willow as well. He was the leader of the Mumbai Indians' attack in 2013 – ending as its joint highest wicket-taker and third-highest of the tournament. Even in 2015 he had a terrific outing with 18 wickets. However, with his form waning, Bhajji has played the role of backup as leggie Karn Sharma has taken over the mantle of the lead spinner. Will he wear the MI Blues come 2018? Only time will tell. Photo: Vivek Bendre
Whether MI played its home games at the Wankhede Stadium or the adjoining Brabourne Stadium, the chants of “,” have been a constant. And the highest wicket-taker in the history of the tournament has responded more often than not, playing a pivotal role in all its victorious campaigns so far. The only difference from the previous two winning sprees to the one in 2017 was that Malinga's role had been switched to a defensive bowler, who primarily bowled his quota of four overs in the middle overs. Photo: AP
Ever since joining the MI stables in 2009, the burly Pollard has been a pivotal member of the unit. He makes his presence felt in virtually every game, either with his big hits straight down the ground at the death, or with his under-rated medium pace bowling. To add to his credentials is his acrobatic fielding as the West Indian has taken blinders for MI. His utility may have reduced slightly, with KP having hardly had a bowl in the 2017 edition, but Pollard continues to be an asset. Photo: Vivek Bendre
Ever since he was signed before the 2010 edition, after returning from the ICL hiatus, Rayudu has been the unsung hero of the MI Paltan. The stylish Hyderabadi batsman has been a pillar of the middle-order, playing the sheet anchor's role to perfection more often than not. Due to the presence of the heavyweights, his contributions often go unnoticed but the MI change room acknowledges his value. In 2017, coming off a long injury layoff since last July, Rayudu broke down at the initial stage, only to return for the last three games. More than his exploits with the bat, his superb catch to dismiss Steven Smith in the last over will forever be remembered by MI fans. Photo: K. Murali Kumar
Besides the six cricketers, some of the members of MI's support staff have also been a constant throughout the last five years. Most of them even longer. Robin Singh (assistant coach), Jonty Rhodes (fielding coach), Paras Mhambrey (assistant coach), Rahul Sanghvi (team manager), CKM Dhananjai (analyst), Nitin Patel (physiotherapist) have been ensuring that the back-end is taken care of with meticulous planning. Not to mention a certain Sachin Tendulkar, who after retiring in 2013 has switched into a mentoring role. Photo: ROHIT JAIN PARAS