Mumbai Indians went about trading players for the next year's edition of the IPL with an eye towards strengthening their bowling, franchise's former pacer and director of cricket Zaheer Khan revealed.
True to those words, MI team management famously brought in Trent Boult from Delhi Capitals during the trading window as replacement of injured Jason Behrendorff. Boult could now share the new ball with Jasprit Bumrah. In total, the side retained 18 players ahead of the auction in December.
"The core of the team is very stable and experienced, so this year is going to be a different one," Zaheer said in a video message. "We have had some challenges in terms of injuries. Hardik Pandya to start with has had a back surgery. (Jasprit) Bumrah has been out of action with back issues and Jason Berehndoff also has had a back surgery."
"That was one of the concerns and the trades were reflection of exactly what was the planning for the upcoming season."
"We felt that we will need some kind of strength around the bowling department and hence the trades with Delhi (Capitals) and RR (Rajasthan Royals)," he added.
With four titles, the most successful IPL franchise has also been the most intent on spotting and fielding Indian domestic talent. "In terms of domestic talent as well, it has been a trend with MI that we have been spotting and going with domestic talent," Zak said. "But this is going to be the end of the cycle as well."
"The IPL dynamics in terms of big auctions work differently, so there is going to be some more thinking in terms of what direction we should be going in, but its pretty premature at this stage."
"The release list is out, so we will have to keep an eye on which are the players released from other teams and what are the options, so yes that process should start very soon now," he concluded.
(Inputs from IANS)