Mumbai Indians are the defending champions and the most successful team in the brief history of IPL with four titles.
Former Indian pacer and Director of Cricket Operations for Mumbai Indians (MI) Zaheer Khan stressed that everyone is eager is defend the Indian Premier League (IPL ) title in a candid conversation with the fans on team’s official Twitter account on Tuesday.
He patiently answered all the questions and also updated the curious fans about the team preparations for the upcoming IPL and how it would be different from the previous seasons sans spectators.
He was full of adulation for Rohit Sharma both as a captain and a serious thinker of the game. Zaheer was also upbeat with the prospect of Trent Boult joining the MI squad and calling him a world-class bowler.
On the teams’ selection, he said: “Generally, the preference is given to the home conditions while selecting the squads.
“But our team’s repertoire needs no embellishment as it is a well–balanced squad to play in any conditions. The MI squad has been picked, keeping in mind all the options and the requirements of any given conditions.
“We do play away games when we are playing in the country as well. So, we will have to adapt to the conditions in the UAE,” said a dashing former pacer, who spearheaded the India’s pace battery for several years.
He commended Rohit for his leadership skills and acumen of the game both as a skipper and a batsman.
“He has a great leadership skill and but he is always very relaxed yet a very intense thinker of the game. It is often evident when he makes those tactical calls on the field in pressure situations of the match and his teammates believe in him. So I think, that is one quality that helps immensely in bringing out the best in every one of his team-mates,” said Zaheer.
“It is not going to be very difficult but different for sure. I think the routines are going to change with so many precautions the players will have to take, but it’s just a matter of time that they get used to it.
“Being a professional cricketer, you have to understand and accept these challenges. I think this is the need of the hour, the demand of the new normal that we will have to get used to and deliver it on the field,” said Zaheer about playing in a bio-secure bubble in the times of pandemic.
IPL-13 has been shifted to the UAE in the wake of rising cases of coronavirus in India. The players and supporting staff has been kept in quarantine after reaching the UAE.
The teams have been asked to follow the strict saety protocols. Any breach in the safety protocol can ruin the whole tournament.
He heaped a lot of praise on the New Zealand fast bowler Trent Boult, who will join the squad soon.
“Boult is going to be a part of MI soon. He’s a fantastic bowler, world-class bowler. He has got a terrific record both on the international level and franchise cricket.
“So we are all looking forward to him joining the squad as soon as possible and giving us those early breakthroughs which will set the tone for our victory.”
Informing about the preparation of the team, he said:
“The preparations are going very nicely. Everyone is very excited. Every member of the MI Family is looking forward to going out there and defending the title. We all are very eagerly waiting for that first match.”
MI are the defending champions and the most successful team in the brief history of IPL with four titles. They won the prestigious title in 2013, 2015, 2017 and 2019.
“The experience this time is going to be different and we will be missing our Paltan but we know our Paltan is supporting us from wherever they are. So thank you for all the support, which you have been giving us over the years.”
MI has a group of very loyalist fans, who are popularly known as Palatns. They follow the team everywhere. Even few members of the Paltans had flown to the UAE to root for their team when the tournament was held in the wake of general elections in India.
Zaheer downplayed the talks of MI underwhelming performance in 2014, when they played in the UAE last.
“Thank you for reminding us about the last season which we played here and how it went. Yes, it wasn’t an easy one and we had a few losses here in UAE.
“But we’ve accepted this as a challenge and for any team, challenges are good. This team is surely capable enough to deliver. So, we are looking forward to this challenge and changing this record for sure,” he added.
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