Three-time champions Mumbai Indians suffered a huge blow ahead of the twelfth edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) with three of their star players, not in the scheme of things before the start of the tournament. One of such players turned out to be the IPL’s highest wicket-taker Lasith Malinga, who was expected to be curtailed initially after he was asked to play the Super Provincial One Day Tournament by Sri Lanka Cricket.
In the absence of the star player Malinga, Mumbai Indians lost their first game of the tournament which was played against Delhi Capitals at Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai on Sunday. However, ahead of their first away game, they received a massive boost with the spearhead becoming available to play in the ongoing IPL early to what one would have expected.
Meanwhile, the domestic tournament was made mandatory by the cricket board for the World Cup hopefuls. But with the IPL expected to be more competitive than the 50-over domestic tournament, the board has allowed the veteran pacer to take part in the T20 league.
Mumbai Indians' head coach Mahela Jayawardene is understood to have made a crucial role in SLC's change of heart. "When we got him in the auction, SLC gave us his availability schedule, that tournament wasn't part of that," Jayawardene had said earlier. "So there is a conversation to be made and once we get through that conversation we'll let you know," he had said.
Last year though, he was a part of the coaching staff after going unsold in the auction. But with the 35-year-old regaining form and fitness in recent months, the franchise bought him back in December last year in the auction. Mumbai Indians' next clash is against Royal Challengers Bangalore on Thursday.
Jasprit Bumrah, who had suffered a shoulder injury in the opener is still little doubtful for the next game, and Malinga’s return will make the disguise a little less. This remains to be seen if Mumbai can get back to the winning ways in the early phase of the tournament.