Dubai: Together with Jasprit Bumrah and Lasith Malinga’s late replacement James Pattinson, New Zealand’s Mitchell McClenaghan helps form a formidable pace attack with four-time IPL champions Mumbai Indians, a role that he’s eagerly looking forward to continuing when the 13th edition of the tournament takes place in the UAE in less than three weeks.
The left-arm medium-fast bowler is also hoping to use his experience of having played in the UAE before to provide key information on the vagaries of the pitch conditions to his teammates.
McClenaghan. who made history as the fastest bowler to take 50 wickets for New Zealand in ODIs, participated in an interactive session on Mumbai’s Twitter account on Monday where he discussed a variety of subjects ranging from his favourite bowling partner to his choice of bowling bouncers or yorkers as his key weapon.
“Probably, my favourite bowling partners are Malinga or Bumrah obviously and then you know you’ve got people like Hardik and Krunal who are doing an exceptional job,” he said. “So I enjoy bowling with the team I suppose a lot more than just a favourite bowling partner and we have got a very good unit.
“The main plan on focusing on bowling over here in the UAE just making sure that the guys who have played here like myself and Polly (Trinidad’s Kieron Pollard) can pass on as much information as we possibly can,” he said. “All three wickets (Dubai, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi) are different. They play differently and you know we need to pass those kinds of messages on to the other guys.”
- IPL in UAE: Hardik Pandya focusing on return to top flight cricket
- IPL in UAE: KKR pacer Kamlesh Nagarkoti seeks Pat Cummins's tips on managing injuries
- IPL in UAE: Lasith Malinga pulls out of Mumbai Indians squad for the season
- Know your IPL teams: Eoin Morgan’s return to make a difference for Kolkata Knight Riders
Malinga, the highest wicket-taker in IPL history, pulled out of Mumbai Indians team for ‘personal reasons’.
McClenaghan also revealed his liking for bouncers in favour of yorkers and said: “Well if I could bowl yorkers like Bumrah or Malinga, it would probably be yorkers. But seeing that’s not my strength, I’ll like to go with the bouncers.
“Nothing better than whizzing one past someone’s nose or hitting them on the head and the ball popping up to the keeper.”
McClenaghan has a good strike rate in Twenty20 cricket having bagged 30 wickets from 29 matches and he acknowledged that his most memorable bowling performance in the IPL was against Hyderabad where he got rid of the always-dangerous David Warner back in 2015.
“We had to win to get into the finals and we knew how important David Warner’s wicket was and it’s kind of being able to take that and then bowl well for the rest of the innings to get us through the play-offs,” he said. “That’s probably my best spell and most memorable.”
McClenaghan dismissed any notion of batting higher up in the order or even opening the innings with skipper Rohit Sharma as he says that he doesn’t facing batting against the swinging ball.
“I think there’s probably twenty people in our squad who are far better than me at batting, so wouldn’t waste myself at the top, that’s for sure,” he said. “Plus, the ball swings, and I don’t really like that.”
But what McClenaghan does like is the team’s new jersey which is describes as “absolute fire”!
“You know you can never get too much blue and gold and I think it’s a nice little subtle change from last year’s stuff, but still, it looks awesome. absolute fire! It looks mint,” he said.