Five-time champions Mumbai Indians (MI) are probably the worst affected ahead of the IPL 2022 auction as they have been forced to release most of their key players. Mumbai had the most settled squad of all IPL franchises, which is why they have been the most successful IPL franchise. In the end, MI decided to retain captain Rohit Sharma (16 crore), lead pacer Jasprit Bumrah (12 crore), middle-order batter Suryakumar Yadav (8 crore) and all-rounder Kieron Pollard (6 crore). Among the big names they released were Ishan Kishan, Hardik Pandya, Trent Boult, Krunal Pandya and Quinton de Kock. Heading into the IPL 2022 mega auction, they have a purse of Rs 48 crore remaining since they spent Rs 42 crore in retaining four players. Keeping in mind the same, we look at five players MI could target at the auction in January.
One big purchase: Sam Curran (10-12 crore)
Having released Hardik Pandya, whose form has tapered off recently and who is unsure of his bowling due to injury concerns, MI would be looking at another quality all-rounder in their line-up. They could target England all-rounder Sam Curran, who has been released by Chennai Super Kings (CSK). Curran missed most of the UAE leg of IPL 2021 due to injury. Before that, he claimed nine wickets in as many games and also scored some quick runs. The advantage with Curran is that he can open both the batting and the bowling, which is a rare quality in a cricketer. He is a smart operator at the death as well with his variations. Curran can be expensive at times, but MI could be keen on getting him in place of Pandya, considering the package that he offers.
Elite purchases: Jason Roy, Pat Cummins (6-8 crore)
England opener Jason Roy has somehow not got his due in the IPL. He has been among the most destructive openers in limited-overs internationals for a few years now. However, if we look at his career in the Indian T20 league, he has only played 13 matches in which he has scored 329 runs at a strike rate of 129 with two half-centuries. His first fifty came in 2018 when he smashed an unbeaten 91. After missing out on the last two seasons, he played for Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) this year, replacing David Warner as opener towards the end. He has a lot more to offer.
Pat Cummins was purchased for a hefty sum by Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in the IPL 2020 auction. He did not have a memorable run in the first half of IPL 2020, only finding some rhythm towards the end of the edition. He did better in the India leg of IPL 2021 and was penetrative but did not feature in the UAE leg. What Cummins brings to the table is a decade of experience in international cricket and the ability to unsettle the best of batters. His big-hitting in the lower-order is highly underrated. Cummins almost won KKR a game against CSK in IPL 2021 with some splendid big-hitting.
Decent purchases: Aiden Markram, Rahul Chahar (2-4 crore)
It was a surprise that Punjab Kings (PBKS) released South African Aiden Markram, who was among the few bright spots for them in a disastrous IPL 2021 campaign. The 27-year-old hard-hitting batter smashed 146 runs in six matches at a strike rate of 122.68. He played some blazing knocks to give the team some momentum. Markram carried on his form into the T20 World Cup as well, where he came up with some amazing batting efforts. He can be a good option for MI in the middle-order.
Young leggie Rahul Chahar may not have had a great run in the second half of IPL 2021. He looked out of rhythm. Still, over the last couple of seasons, MI groomed Chahar, and he turned into a more than decent spinner for them, even making his India debut. Chahar gives the ball a real rip and is among the better spin options likely to be part of the auctions. There is a good chance MI might look to buy him back.