The 13th season of the lucrative Indian Premier League will kickstart on September 19 with four-time winners Mumbai Indians squaring off against the Chennai Super Kings at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi.
Gavaskar reasoned that Mumbai Indians prior experience of handling crunch situations and the presence of proven performers puts them in good stead with respect to other teams in IPL 2020.
“You pick a team and say for certain that they will win the IPL because T20 format where a match situation changes within the span of 1 over. But I would certainly say that teams that have played the finals before have an advantage over the others. Playing in the league stage is completely different from playing in the knockouts and final,” Sunil Gavaskar told India Today.
“Mumbai Indians have won the IPL 4 times which means that they know how to come out of difficult situations. That is why I feel MI shouldn’t find it too difficult to win the championship again this year,” he added.
Sunil Gavaskar lists Mumbai Indians weakness ahead of IPL 2020
While according to Sunil Gavaskar, experience is Mumbai Indians biggest strength, the former Indian opener also pointed out the absence of an experienced world-class spinner and fragile middle-order as the major weaknesses of the defending champions.
”As I said, experience is one of their biggest strengths. Secondly, the talent that they have in their squad and even the way they picked new players in the 2019 auction… They have applied their brains in picking the new players. It seems like they have everything in the squad, they have all bases covered which makes them a very good team for this season,”
“What they don’t have are experienced spinners like other teams. And another area of concern is the middle order, they have to think hard about who will bat for them at No.4 and 5. If Quinton de Kock plays then he will open the innings with either Rohit Sharma or Suryakumar Yadav. But who will bat at No.4?,”
“Ishan Kishan can be a good option at No.4 and he can open the batting as well. They can promote Hardik Pandya at No.4 because Kieron Pollard I believe will bat at No.5. But if they don’t do that then what options do they have? Maybe Shane Rutherford can do the job, he is a big-hitter. These two areas – spin attack and middle-order – can cause issues for MI,” Gavaskar added.
Gavaskar then proceeded to pick his starting XI for the Mumbai Indians. The former opener said that he would start with Rohit as opener and if he does not performs then he can come down to the No.3 spot. He also added that given the pitches in the UAE are on the slower side, teams’ should look to target 160-180 on an average in the upcoming season.
“Rohit Sharma (c), Suryakumar Yadav, Quinton de Kock (wk), Ishan Kishan, Hardik Pandya, Kieron Pollard, Krunal Pandya, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Rahul Chahar, Trent Boult/Mitchell McClenaghan, Jasprit Bumrah. I would open with Rohit for the first few games and if he doesn’t score then he can come down to No.3. The more number of overs he plays the better it will be for MI,” he said
“What Mumbai Indians have are plenty of big-hitters like Rohit Sharma, Kieron Pollard, Quinton de Kock, Suryakumar Yadav, Hardik Pandya. Pitches in the UAE are on the slower side and the grounds are bigger as well so I think teams should look to score 160-180 on an average in IPL 2020,” Sunil Gavaskar said.