The stage is set for the IPL 2020 final where four-time winners and defending champions Mumbai Indians will lock horns with first-time finalists Delhi Capitals at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium tonight.
This is the sixth final appearance for MI who are already the most successful franchise in IPL's 13-year history. Their success is largely attributed to their consistent team selections and as well as some astute picks on the auction day. The likes of Pandya brothers and Jasprit Bumrah were not exactly household names when MI picked them, and these players, over a period of time, graduated to form team's core.
Former India batting coach Sanjay Bangar lauded MI for their groundwork. Speaking at Star Sports show Cricket Connected, Bangar said, "The earlier times were different as they could sign as many players as they could outside the auction. It’s only since the domestic players came into the auction, that’s why things changed a little bit for them.
"But what they have done alternatively, is that they have also floated a team that plays under the brand of Reliance in local tournaments. They go and play in Chandigarh, in Mumbai as well in the DY Patil T20 tournament and they have a full-fledged facility in Navi Mumbai, wherein they give their players access around the year, not only in terms of the facility but also full physiotherapy support, strengthening support. So, it’s no longer a team that relies and says, ‘Ok, just one or two weeks before the IPL, let’s all get together and start working towards it.’ They are work in progress throughout the year.”
The former India batsman also appreciated the efficiency of Mumbai Indians' backroom staff that has translated into results on the field of play.
“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 they do all their head-to-heads, 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 – that I think will play for India, definitely.”
Former England fast bowler Dominic Cork reckons that Delhi Capitals are following the template laid by MI. Speaking on Star Sports show Cricket Connected, Cork said, “I think they (DC) are trying to copy the blueprint of the Mumbai Indians. 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. 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.”
Bangar added, "Delhi have to be careful. They have a fantastic bunch of talented players and they should stick to them, irrespective if they win the Championship or do not because they are coming close to it, it’s not far away. If they continue to show the same faith and belief in the players that they have, I feel the Championship is just around the corner for them.”
Catch all the action LIVE and exclusive on the Star Sports Network and Disney+ Hotstar VIP from 6 PM onwards
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