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IPL 22: What’s going wrong with the Mumbai Indians?

Rohit Sharma looking to the heavens for inspiration
Rohit Sharma looking to the heavens for inspiration

Since they were founded in 2008, the Mumbai Indians have spent most of their seasons either at or near the top of the Indian Premier League (IPL) table. They have made it to the playoffs every year of their existence — except most likely this season.


This season, things haven’t been going as smoothly. They are currently sitting at the bottom of the league standings. They have only one win from nine matches played and have a Net Run Rate (NRR) of -0.836. Even the Chennai Super Kings who are currently ninth have an NRR of -0.407.


In past years, the Mumbai Indians would have seemed like a safe bet. If they weren’t the Champions, they were likely to be close to the top. Betting on the IPL has become a major pastime, not just in India but in the United Kingdom as well.


Finding a trustworthy sportsbook with cricket odds is easier than ever too. Online sports betting is available around the world and any good betting guide will provide news and updates alongside the odds. That’s a bit of consolation, even when your team is struggling.


The big question on everyone’s minds watching this season and looking at the current stats is what’s going wrong with the Mumbai Indians this year? This article will try and answer that and see if there are any clear steps they can take to improve.


The big shuffle


This is the first year since 2011 that there are 10 teams playing in the IPL. In order to make the expansion fairer and make it easier on the new teams, all of the existing teams had to let most of their players go. Each team was able to retain four players, which had to include both Indian and overseas players.


The two new teams were then able to each choose three players from the released players. The rest of the rosters of all 10 teams were then made up from a player auction in late February. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) set each team a salary cap of INR 90 crore for the mega auction, based on how many players they had retained.


The late auction alone is enough to cause problems for any team. It only gave teams a few weeks to learn to play together. While obviously this hasn’t had as serious an impact on their competition, this shuffle appears to have hit the Mumbai Indians hard.


There is the additional possibility that the four players retained — Rohit Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah, Suryakumar Yadav and Kieron Pollars — have been struggling under the weight of expectations. There is a lot of pressure related to being the ones deemed worthy of being kept on the roster.


Additionally, the shuffle means that former teammates are now facing one another. Some of the Mumbai Indians best former players are now their rivals and can pass information on to their new teammates. Of course, this is true for every team, but it is a potential explanation for some of the team’s struggles.


Bowling issues


Regardless of whether they are veteran players or new recruits, the Mumbai Indians have been having serious issues with their bowling. It isn’t just a case of placing too much emphasis on fast bowling to the detriment of their spin bowlers or vice versa, the entire bowling line up is struggling.


Even the team’s star bowler, Jasprit Bumrah, a world-class fast bowler, hasn’t been playing to his full potential. He only managed to take four wickets in the first five matches of the tournament.


It’s unclear why the team’s bowling has taken such a hit. It may be wise for them to focus on working on this weakness prior to the start of the next IPL season.


Stress on the captain


Virat Kohli captained India from 2013-2022 and is considered one of the best batsmen in history. His captaincy resulted in the best results that the Indian International Test team has ever had. As of 2021, he was serving as the Test, T20I and ODI captain, and as captain of the Royal Challengers Bangalore.


He stepped down from all those positions by the end of the year. It is not surprising, captaining more than one team is a massive stressor. He was replaced as the Test and ODI captain by Rohit Sharma.


Rohit Sharma’s captaincy didn’t have the easiest start - he was appointed to the position in the wake of India’s loss to South Africa. While Sharma has experience as the captain of the Mumbai Indians, adding international roles is a major responsibility.


It is reasonable to assume that his performance has been suffering due to this added stress and having to split his attention between the teams. This isn’t to suggest that he isn’t capable of performing well in the position, it is likely that he simply needs a season or two to adapt to the added pressures.


There are still a few more weeks until the end of IPL 22. It may not be enough time for the Mumbai Indians to turn things around completely, but it might be enough for them to begin making the changes necessary to make the 2023 season more successful.

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