IPL 2021: Five-time Indian Premier League (IPL) champions Mumbai Indians has over the years proved that it is one of the most successful clubs in world cricket. While the team definitely boasts of some world-class performers like Rohit Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah, Hardik Pandya and Kieron Pollard among others, what makes the club stand out is its vision and keenness to back raw talent and turn them into finished products. A look at the 2020 edition of the IPL itself bears testimony to the fact that the team management relied not just on international performers like Pollard or Quinton de Kock or Trent Boult, but also on the likes of Ishan Kishan and Suryakumar Yadav.
While Ishan finished with 516 runs from 14 games – the most for MI in the last edition – Suryakumar picked 480 runs from 16 games. In fact, his calm and composed nature saw former cricketers calling for his inclusion in the team for the limited-overs series against Australia.
Even though Suryakumar missed the bus for the Australia tour, both him and Ishan are a part of the Indian team for the England T20Is. The twin call-up has once again showed that the MI franchise is more a finishing school which believes in creating the perfect bench strength for the national team.
Speaking to ANI, Ishan threw light on his journey with MI. “What I have gained in the last three years at Mumbai Indians will always remain with me as the bedrock of my cricket. Difficult for me to break it down into details, but it was more of the mentorship I would reckon from the coaches, captain and Zaheer Sir, which really helped me; and my conversations with Akash Sir, he always shown faith in me.”
“When I came to Mumbai Indians, I was still someone trying to figure out the transition from being a U-19 cricketer to making it to the other side as a professional. To be honest here, the management at Mumbai Indians brought a lot of discipline in me, at times pushed me hard, and yet allowed me to express myself freely. Now when I look back, I feel this is the best that has ever happened to my game and to me personally,” he smiled.
Echoing the sentiments, Suryakumar threw light on the vision that the MI unit has and how it helps youngsters to rise through the ranks.
“I would say Mumbai Indians is as an institution. The entire set up, the system and process is a notch higher when it comes to Mumbai Indians. They have clear vision, and that’s what has helped me in my process and the progression I needed to become a better cricketer,” he told ANI.
While Ishan and Suryakumar have hogged the limelight since their national call-up, the MI team management has been working overtime with these guys for the last few years.
The reason behind Mumbai Indians’ consistent success over the years is the management’s focus on creating a robust network of scouting system which identifies raw talent and nurtures them into professional cricketers.
Suryakumar is a classic example of how Mumbai Indians identified his style of playing, created a position for him in the team where he is able to showcase his potential and backed him all through. Ishan is another case study how Mumbai Indians saw his potential early on. He was quite raw when he came to the MI camp. But the scouts and management were clear of his capabilities.
Even though the likes of Hardik and Bumrah are now international performers, they too were picked up early by MI. In recent years, Mumbai Indians have expanded their scouting programme internationally and the purchase of young South Africa cricketer Marco Jansen once again showcases MI’s belief in investing in the youth.
The MI family has always maintained that they are not looking at immediate success and wish to create a long-lasting impact. In fact, owner Akash Ambani mentioned this after Jansen was picked at the auction.
“He (Marco) is a name we have been tracking for two years. We have an international scouting programme in place, like the Indian scouting programme. What Marco brings to the table is that he is relatively young, 6.8 ft, a left arm fast bowler who can swing the new ball and can bat at No.8. Now am sure with Mahela (Jayawardene), Zak (Zaheer Khan) and all the support staff we will be able to unearth the potential,” he said.
He also backed the call to bring in youngsters like Arjun Tendulkar and Yudhvir Charak. “We believe that we have the environment to help individuals reach their potential. It’s very important that his (Arjun) process and progression happens just as any other young cricketer,” he pointed