Kolkata: A lot has changed for Rohit Sharma, the most successful IPL captain so far with five titles, since he ended the last campaign in the UAE where Mumbai Indians failed to make the play-offs. The last six months have seen him take over as the all-format India captain and it remains to be seen if he can retain his magic touch with a new-look ‘Paltan’ in the 10-team, new format IPL 2022.
If the Wankhede Stadium had always been a fortress for them Mumbai their supporters create the ‘Blue Wave’ with their flags, there could be more than one fortress for them at the Brabourne Stadium, DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai as well as in Pune - but the asture skipper in him brushed aside any such talk of ‘home advantage’ on the eve of his pursuit for a sixth title.
“It’s a relatively new team, lots of new guys have come into the team. I don’t believe in added advantage because 70-80% of the squad hasn’t played in Mumbai before. So, there is no such thing as added advantage. Only myself, Surya, Pollard, Ishan and Bumrah have played in Mumbai a lot and others have not played. We all are playing in Mumbai after two years and did not play a single game here. In fact, other franchises have played in Mumbai last year (2021, first half); we didn’t get to play. So, there is no home advantage,” the ‘Hitman’ said in their pre-season virtual press conference on Wednesday.
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A plus point of Rohit’s captaincy so far had been a clarity of thought - which was again in display during the press conference - be it in naming Ishan Kishan as his opening partner or the fact that their preparations will remain unchanged despite the two-group format.
“I will open the batting. (I have) been doing that in the past, so I am looking forward to open (the batting) with Ishan (Kishan). Surya is at the NCA (National Cricket Academy) at the moment. He is recovering well. He will be here soon. I can’t give you his availability right now; whether he will be there to play the first game or not but we are trying to get him here as soon as possible once we have the clearance from NCA,” Rohit said.
The Mumbai captain said to a query that the style of Mumbai’s preparation won’t change with new teams Lucknow Super Giants and Gujarat Titans entering the fold this season onwards and pointed towards the 2022 edition having the same format as the 2011 season.
“It’s a format we played in 2011. So, to be honest, nothing changes in terms of planning. You have to play the opposition as simple as that. Some opposition you might play only once and some, two. I don’t think there’s a whole lot you need to change in terms of planning. We just need to be aware that certain teams you will play only once, you need to be very well-prepared as there’s no coming back and playing against those guys. You just need to plan well against those guys, make sure that all your bases are covered as there’s no second shot at that.”