Former England fast bowler, Dominic Cork, hailed the robust nature of defending champions Mumbai Indians (MI) as they eye their fifth IPL title in the final on Tuesday (November 10) versus the Delhi Capitals (DC).
In a tournament where teams sweat hard for playoff spots, MI have been the stand-out side. The fantastic all-round unit topped the points table and then beat DC in Qualifier 1 to reach a step away from wearing the coveted crown again.
"When you look at what they have done over a period of time now, that template that they bring in, that squad is the best and I think the way that they resource players, their analytics is the best as well, the way that they do all their head-to-heads," said Cork on Star Sports' show 'Cricket Connected'. "I think they have got every single piece of the jigsaw sorted and when you look at their squad, they have the best squad, it's simple."
"Because, say, if Trent Boult got injured, they have a left-armer to go straight in, in Mitch McClenaghan. So, every little piece of the jigsaw is good, and they have got some fantastic young players coming in - two I will name - Suryakumar Yadav and Rahul Chahar - two, that I think will play for India, definitely," he added.
Speaking on DC, Cork feels establishing a core group of Indian players, besides bringing in a nice mix of quality overseas stars, through prudent auction strategy has benefitted the side a lot. In that, Cork gave credit to the think-tank, including head coach Ricky Ponting.
"I think they (DC) are trying to copy the blueprint of the Mumbai Indians and why wouldn't you try and copy that because of the success it has had. It's slightly different. So, this isn't just a side that is built over two weeks, this is a progression of all-year-round advantages through fitness and physiotherapy," Cork said.
"But I think what they are trying to do, under a coach, who has won the IPL in Ricky Ponting, is trying to put down that core of Indian young and exciting players - the captain, wicketkeeper, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant - and trying to add a little bit of flair with their overseas players."
"Look, losing Trent Boult, I think, wasn't the best decision that happened to them because of what he's been for Mumbai Indians. But what they added, is two express pace bowlers in Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje. Obviously, Ravi Ashwin, with all his experience as well, they have a nice blend of experience, but also, with their youth coming through. So, they are trying to copy Mumbai," he added.
(Inputs from ANI)