Former India spinner, Pragyan Ojha has named the defending champions Mumbai Indians (MI) as a “very solid” and the “most confident” outfit ahead of the start of IPL 2021. Rohit Sharma will march his team in the field on 9th April against Virat Kohli’s Royal Challengers Bangalore in the season opener in Chennai in a bid to secure their 6th title.
If Mumbai Indians can win the trophy this year, they would also become the first team in the history of the tournament to make a hat-trick of titles – only Chennai Super Kings is the other side to win consecutive IPL seasons in 2010 and 2012.
The Ambani-owned franchise has been the team to beat since Rohit Sharma was handed the reins mid-season in 2013. He led them to triumphs in 2013. 2015,2017,2019, and finally in 2020 Mumbai dismissed their even year jinx.
They should have confidence but not be overconfident: Pragyan Ojha
Pragyan Ojha, who was part of the championship-winning Mumbai side in 2013 and 2015, points out that MI was so complete even before the February auction that they brought players as backups – the likes of Adam Milne, Piyush Chawla, and James Neesham are not guaranteed start in the MI side; they have also roped back Nathan Coulter-Nile, who played in the final last season against Delhi Capitals, at a cheaper price after releasing him.
However, the former left-arm spinner also cautions the side to not be overconfident as they look to claim a third consecutive title after the highs of the last couple of seasons.
“MI looks a complete side, they haven’t changed much in the past couple of years. Even in the auction this year they were looking for replacements. Their entire team is set, and they look a very solid side. With back-to-back titles in 2019 and 2020, I think they look like the most confident side. They should have confidence but not be overconfident,” Pragyan Ojha told Sports Today.
The 5-time champions will play their first 5 games in Chennai, followed by 4 in Delhi – both venues traditionally favouring spinners. The team will then finish its last 5 matches in batting assisting pitches in Bangalore and Kolkata, before the playoffs. MI has all bases covered regarding their bowling and is adept at adapting to different conditions, making them an overwhelming favourite for IPL 2021.