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How Good is the Mumbai Indians IPL Squad in 2021?

| March 3, 2021 11:09 am PDT

How do you make the most successful franchise in IPL history even better? Well, adding four overseas stars to the squad is a pretty good start.

The Mumbai Indians will head into the 2021 Indian Premier League season without Lasith Malinga, after the Sri Lankan icon retired from T20 franchise cricket back in January. But the 2021 MI squad is still brimming with quality.

The reigning champions added seven players to their roster at the auction, including Kiwi all-rounder Jimmy Neesham and rising star Arjun Tendulkar (yes, the son of the legendary Sachin Tendulkar).

But is MI’s 2021 squad strong enough to see Mahela Jayawardene’s men defend their crown?

In this post, I take an in-depth look at the Mumbai Indians roster in 2021, covering all the offseason moves, star players, and overseas imports. I also predict MI’s likely XI for the upcoming campaign.

Mumbai Indians Squad for the 2021 IPL Season

Here is the Mumbai Indians 2021 squad in full. It includes some new additions that were purchased in the 2021 IPL auction.

Mumbai Indians Batsmen in 2021

  • Aditya Tare (wk)
  • Anmolpreet Singh
  • Chris Lynn
  • Ishan Kishan (wk)
  • Quinton de Kock (wk)
  • Rohit Sharma (c)
  • Suryakumar Yadav
  • Saurabh Tiwary

As you can see, the Mumbai Indians’ outright batting options are unchanged from the previous campaign. Given that three MI batsmen finished inside the top seven run-scorers last season, the 2021 Mumbai Indians squad didn’t really need altering in this department.

TOP RUN-SCORERS (2020 IPL SEASON)
Player Team Innings Runs
KL Rahul Punjab Kings 14 670
Shikhar Dhawan Delhi Capitals 17 618
David Warner Sunrisers Hyderabad 16 548
Shreyas Iyer Delhi Capitals 17 519
Ishan Kishan Mumbai Indians 13 516
Quinton de Kock Mumbai Indians 16 503
Suryakumar Yadav Mumbai Indians 15 480

Captain Rohit Sharma experienced a quiet 2020 campaign by his own standards, although nobody would be overly surprised if he challenged for the Orange Cap this year.

After failing to make a single appearances last season, Chris Lynn will feel like a new signing for the Mumbai franchise in 2021. The big-hitting Aussie is capable of blowing teams away on his day, making him one of the most dangerous batsmen in T20 cricket.

All-Rounders for Mumbai Indians

  • Anukul Roy
  • Arjun Tendulkar
  • Hardik Pandya
  • Jimmy Neesham
  • Jayant Yadav
  • Kieron Pollard
  • Krunal Pandya
  • Marco Jansen
  • Yudhvir Charak

Mumbai’s all-rounder options are really interesting for the upcoming Indian Premier League season – and it could be argued that the four new arrivals make the 2021 MI squad even stronger.

Highly-rated South African young gun Marco Jansen has the potential to be one of the IPL’s breakout players this year, while Kiwi star Jimmy Neesham could prove to be a very shrewd acquisition.

Better still, homegrown youngsters Yudhvir Charak and Arjun Tendulkar will give coach Mahela Jayawardene even more choice when it comes to selecting his XI.

With Hardik Pandya, Kieron Pollard, and Krunal Pandya all being retained from last season, it’s safe to say that Mumbai’s 2021 IPL squad is absolutely stacked with exciting – and efficient – all-rounders.

Mumbai Indians Bowlers for 2021

  • Adam Milne
  • Dhawal Kulkarni
  • Jasprit Bumrah
  • Moshin Khan
  • Nathan Coulter-Nile
  • Piyush Chawla
  • Rahul Chahar
  • Trent Boult

Of course, losing the retired Lasith Malinga was never going to be easy. I mean, the iconic Sri Lankan paceman is the all-time leading wicket-taker in Indian Premier League history. But MI will have to cope without Malinga this year.

Thankfully, the Mumbai franchise made a number of impressive buys at the 2021 IPL auction.

Having initially released Nathan Coulter-Nile, the Mumbai Indians re-signed the Aussie quick for 5 crores, underlining his importance to the team. Former KXIP, KKR, and CSK leg-spinner Piyush Chawla adds further depth to the 2021 MI roster, along with New Zealander Adam Milne.

Considering that the Mumbai Indians already had two of the top three wicket-takers from last season on their side, Jayawardene is now spoiled for choice in the bowling department.

TOP WICKET-TAKERS (2020 IPL SEASON)
Player Team Innings Runs
Kagiso Rabada Delhi Capitals 17 30
Jasprit Bumrah Mumbai Indians 15 27
Trent Boult Mumbai Indians 15 25
Anrich Nortje Delhi Captials 16 22
Yuzvendra Chahal Royal Challengers Banagalore 15 21

Assessing Mumbai Indians’ Overseas Players in 2021

MI’s squad for 2021 boasts a host of world-class imports, with several new additions. Let’s take a closer look at the Mumbai Indians overseas players and discuss what each of them can bring to the team this year.

Will Chris Lynn Fire in 2021?

A lot of questions were asked of the Knight Riders when they chose to release Lynn at the end of the 2019 IPL season. However, MI wasted no time in snapping up the big-hitting Aussie during the subsequent auction.

The 30-year-old didn’t feature in previous campaign, but after finishing as the fourth-highest run-scorer in BBL 10, Lynn is clearly still one of the most devastating T20 batsmen on the planet.

As you can see, his IPL record speaks for itself.

  • Matches: 41
  • Not Outs: 3
  • Runs: 1280
  • High Score: 93*
  • Average: 33.68
  • Balls Faced: 910
  • Strike Rate: 140.65

Can Quinton de Kock Continue to Shine?

Quinton de Kock has played for SH, DC, and RCB throughout his lengthy Indian Premier League career. But since moving to MI in 2019, the inventive left-hander has taken his game to another level.

Not only did the South African finish sixth on the overall run-scorer leaderboard last season, but he also notched up four half-centuries along the way. It goes without saying that de Kock will be one of MI’s star players again in 2021.

QUINTON DE KOCK (2020 IPL SEASON)
Matches Runs High Score Average Strike Rate
16 503 78* 35.92 140.50

Jimmy Neesham Adds Undeniable Quality

Neesham only has two IPL seasons under his belt – one with DC in 2014 and one with KXIP in 2020. But in recent years, the New Zealander has established himself as one of the most consistent T20 players on the planet, making him an excellent acquisition for Mumbai.

Lethal with both bat and ball, the 30-year-old looks set to be a key overseas player for MI in 2021. Jayawardene isn’t short of all-rounder options, but I’m sure the coach will be thinking of ways to get Neesham into his XI.

Could Marco Jensen Cause a Stir?

Jansen is somewhat of an unknown quantity at the moment, especially on the IPL scene. But having showed glimpses of what he is capable of recently, the 20-year-old was reportedly on the radar of a number of franchises this year.

After making a name for himself with the VKB Knights back in his homeland, South Africa, the young all-rounder could be one of the surprise packages in the 2021 Indian Premier League.

Kieron Pollard Needs No Introduction

On the topic of all-rounder options – there aren’t many better than Kieron Pollard.

Arguably one of the greatest overseas players in IPL history, the powerful West Indian has been with the Mumbai Indians since 2010 and has been pivotal to the franchise’s unrivalled success over the years.

Heading into his twelfth season as an MI player, Pollard is the team’s second-highest run-scorer of all time. Oh, and he also sits seventh in the wicket-taker charts! There is no denying that Pollard is one of the best Mumbai Indians overseas players in 2021.

Can Adam Milne Make a Difference?

Milne joins Neesham and Boult as MI’s third New Zealand international this year. Granted, he hasn’t featured for the Blackcaps as much as his compatriots in recent times. But there is no doubting the paceman’s quality.

Having spent a couple of relatively quiet seasons at RCB (2016 & 2017), Milne burst back onto the T20 scene earlier this year, starring for the Sydney Thunder in the Big Bash League. If he can pick up where he left off Down Under, he could prove to be an inspired overseas pick for Mumbai in 2021.

Trent Boult’s Wickets Are Key

Following spells with SH, KKR, and DC, Boult joined MI for the 2020 IPL season. Needless to say, the Mumbai Indians will now be feeling pretty smug about their decision to buy the Kiwi bowler.

Only two players claimed more wickets than Boult in the Indian Premier League last term – and one of those players was Boult’s team-mate Bumrah. If the New Zealander can get anywhere near that level this year, he will enjoy another hugely successful campaign.

TRENT BOULT (2020 IPL SEASON)
Matches Overs Wickets Best Figures Economy
15 57.2 25 4/14 7.97

Will Nathan Coulter-Nile Star in 2021?

MI’s decision to release and then re-sign Coulter-Nile feels like a sensible one. The Australian only featured in seven matches last season, but he still managed to pick up a number of important wickets for his side.

Alongside Bumrah and Boult, Coulter-Nile looks set to be part of a formidable seam-heavy bowling attack for Mumbai in this year. MI fans will be hoping that he can rediscover his best form in 2021.

Mumbai Indians Key Players for 2021

Given that Mumbai boasts multiple world-class performers, it almost seems unfair to single out just one star player. So, that’s why I’m picking two star players for MI in 2021 – one batsman and one bowler.

There is no denying that Rohit Sharma is one of the best batsmen on the planet right now. The Mumbai captain has been with the franchise right from the very beginning, winning five IPL titles in the process.

In recent times, Sharma has shone for India at Test level. But let’s be honest – he has shone for his country in every format of the game for the best part of 15 years now.

Not only is Sharma MI’s all-time leading run-scorer by a considerable margin, but he also sits fourth on the overall IPL leaderboard. I’m expecting the 33-year-old to add to his remarkable tally in 2021.

  • Virat Kohli (Royal Challengers Bangalore) – 5878 runs
  • Suresh Raina (Chennai Super Kings) – 5368 runs
  • David Warner (Sunrisers Hyderabad) – 5254 runs
  • Rohit Sharma (Mumbai Indians) – 5230 runs
  • Shikhar Dhawan (Delhi Capitals) – 5197 runs

At the opposite end of the MI line-up, Jasprit Bumrah is another star player for Mumbai in 2021.

The freakishly consistent bowler finished second only to DC’s Kagiso Rabada on last season’s Purple Cap leaderboard, although he did play two games less than Rabada.

If the “Yorker King” executes his plans to perfection – as he nearly always does – this year, he will almost certainly challenge for the Purple Cap in 2021.

Bumrah’s efforts last year saw him move up to second in the all-time wicket-taker charts for the Mumbai Indians. Sure, he still has a lot of work to do if he wants to chase down Malinga’s record. But he could surpass the MI legend in the coming years.

Mumbai Indians Likely XI for the 2021 IPL Season

MI’s 2021 squad is stacked with depth in every department.

It’s safe to say that Jayawardene will have a few selection headaches as he tries to figure out his best XI for the upcoming campaign. But at the end of the day, that can only be a good thing for the team.

Let’s take a look at Mumbai’s predicted XI for the 2021 IPL season.

  • Rohit Sharma
  • Quinton de Kock
  • Suryakumar Yadav
  • Ishan Kishan
  • Kieron Pollard
  • Hardik Pandya
  • Krunal Pandya
  • Rahul Chahar
  • Jasprit Bumrah
  • Nathan Coulter-Nile
  • Trent Boult

Certain areas of the team pretty much pick themselves, with Sharma and de Kock guaranteed openers at the top of the order. Elsewhere, Boult and Bumrah look set to lead the bowling attack.

However, there are a number of spots up for grabs in MI’s 2021 starting XI.

You would expect all-rounders Pollard and Pandya to retain their middle-order spots. But if either of them suffers a dip in form, Neesham, Jensen, and Tendulkar could easily find themselves battling for a place in the team.

Closing Words on the 2021 Mumbai Indians Squad

Having won the last two Indian Premier League titles, the question on everyone’s lips is – can the Mumbai Indians secure an unprecedented third straight IPL triumph in 2021?

Well, looking at their squad, you’d be foolish to bet against them.

In Sharma, de Kock, and Yadav, the 2021 MI squad arguably boasts three of the best outright batsmen in the competition. When you consider what Boult and Bumrah can do with the ball, Mumbai’s squad for the 2021 IPL season is scarily strong.

Throw all-rounders like Pollard, Pandya, and Neesham into the mix, as well as up-and-coming stars such as Tendulkar and Jansen, and it is difficult to imagine anyone stopping MI this year.

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Ben Morris

Ben is a sportswriter and tipster who specializes in soccer. Currently based in the UK, he has traveled all around the world watching – and betting on – his beloved sport.

Alongside his regular soccer content, Ben publishes blogs and picks for cricket, Formula 1, Aussie rules, darts, and various other sports.

Ben is a diehard fan of Nottingham Forest and England, so he hasn’t had much to cheer about in recent years!

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