Mumbai Indians team director Zaheer Khan justified veteran Yuvraj Singh's addition to the squad. Mumbai went for Yuvraj in the auction and without any bidding war, they got him in 1 crore, which shows the decline in value of the discarded Indian cricketer. But Zaheer believes his experience is still invaluable.
“We always wanted an experienced middle-order batsman to guide our team,” Zaheer told CricketNext on the sidelines of the launch of Ferit Cricket Bash, a league for amateur cricketers.
“That’s why we were bidding aggressively for Hanuma Vihari as well, who has plenty of domestic experience if not international matches under his belt. Yuvraj gave us the best of everything. He comes with vast experience and is a devastating T20 batsman as well. So, I think we made a great investment in him.”
Yuvraj is not the only player who was ignored by other franchises but Mumbai found them helpful. MI also bought Lasith Malinga, that too by paying 2 crores.
Mumbai is known for nourishing the budding cricketers. Well, they have included players like Barinder Singh Sran (INR 3.4 cr), Anmolpreet Singh (INR 80 lakh), Pankaj Jaswal (INR 20 lakh) and Rasikh Dar (Rs 20 lakh).
“We were very clear what we needed from the auction,” Zaheer explained. “Mumbai Indians wanted to build a squad that could win them a championship again. (Lasith) Malinga played the role of coach for us last year but he is still the highest wicket-taker in IPL. When we found out he was in form and bowling well, it was easy to pick Malinga to not only lead our attack but also mentor the young bowlers.”
Zaheer, who has played for Mumbai Indians, gave up playing cricket last year. But now he wants to contribute with his coaching.
“I have always felt that I needed to be close to cricket since the day that I retired. I have a lot to offer to the young cricketers — both amateur and professional — as a coach and mentor,” the 40-year-old said. “I am definitely open to taking up a coach’s job. That’s the reason I have taken up this post with Mumbai Indians. It is my way of finding my way into cricket coaching.”
(With Cricket Next Inputs)