Memories have the power to change your present. It’s not simply a case of remembering all that is past but also a case of using those thoughts to push yourself towards a goal that has eluded you for a long time.
It’s allows you to retrace your steps, figure out what went wrong and then take confident steps towards your eventually goal. That’s what the Mumbai Indians have done this season.
Over the last few years, they have seen the Rajasthan Royals, the Deccan Chargers, the Chennai Super Kings and the Kolkata Knight Riders win the IPL. And they have seen this happen despite spending the most money, having a very vocal and supportive fan base and signing the best players.
So starting this season, the Mumbai Indians management had a very clear goal. They wanted to win. Nothing less will do. Given how Mumbai dominates domestic cricket, the inability of the franchise from the same city to win a title is preposterous. Success in domestic competitions is something that the city almost takes for granted.
So the reasoning behind getting Ricky Ponting and making him skipper was simple: He’s won with Australia. He knows how to win and he can teach us. It didn’t work but they tried. And Dinesh Karthik swears by the impact the former Australian captain is having in the dressing room.
The same logic applied to the introduction of John Wright as head coach. During his time as India coach, he moulded the team into a fighting unit that didn’t accept losing as part and parcel of the game. They were aggressive and Sourav Ganguly played his role to perfection but Wright brought a touch of professionalism to the whole setup.
In previous season, Robin Singh was doing a good job. But MI had such a huge crew of support staff that it was sometimes difficult to figure out the game plans. Too many cooks spoils the broth and Mumbai were a mess alright. Wright had helped streamline the entire process and he’s probably been able to deal with Sachin Tendulkar better than Robin Singh.
Getting Ponting in sent a message. Discarding him midway through the season sent a bigger message – if you don’t perform, there is no place in the team. There was talk about no one else being good enough to take over but they took a punt with Rohit Sharma and it worked out quite well.
The responsibility of captaincy has brought the best out of Rohit Sharma and the Mumbai team has rallied behind its young skipper and finished second in the points table.
But now comes the tough bit. In the league, Mumbai had the luxury of finding their space – but now they need to be at their absolute best in every match they play.
Chennai have established a reputation as a team that thrives under pressure. Mumbai have reached the last four in 2010, 2011 and 2012. They haven’t managed to go any further each time. They may have lost their first playoff game against Chennai, but they have a second bite at the cherry tomorrow. It is a game they need to win or this will be just another lost season, like all the others before it. And that's just not the Mumbai way.