Dubai: Mumbai Indians franchise are known for their high standards on the field and their UAE franchise, MI Emirates, are no different. The Reliance-owned franchise lost in the playoffs of DP World ILT20 Season 1, but now they are ready to go all the way in Season 2 with a change in the management. Under new head coach Robin Singh and new captain Nicholas Pooran, MI Emirates have made a strong start with two consecutive victories after losing the opener against Dubai Capitals, a game which they have let it slip through their fingers.
Robin Singh, former UAE head coach, has been associated with Mumbai Indians for many years now and knows the demands of his role. He feels winning has become a part of MI culture.
“I’ve been involved with MI for long now. To me, it’s routine stuff. Expectations are always high for us and we understand it. We are yet to win this tournament but it’s all about playing tough, consistent and versatile cricket that will get us the results,” said the former India all-rounder. “The brand of cricket we always wanted to play is positive game and it will be no different this season.”
The team has the versatility to overcome the strong challenge this season with some international stars like Pooran, Trent Boult, Ambati Rayudu, Tim David and Dwayne Bravo leading the way. But the team’s real strength lies in the UAE players. Muhammad Waseem, UAE skipper known for his big-match temperament, Asif Khan, who scored the fourth fastest century in One Day Internationals, veteran pacer Zahoor Khan and Rohid Bangash.
“The league provides the right exposure to the UAE players, which is the most important thing. Being in an environment that they can consistently learn, irrespective of if they are playing in the XI or not. We have four good players and we have given them certain roles that we want them to play. Now it is the question of them fulfilling their role.”
Extend winning run
Waseem, who won the Blue Best for the Best UAE Player in Season 1, started from where left off last year with the half-century and unbeaten 26 in three innings. They will be taking Sharjah Warriors in Sharjah on Friday, hoping to extend their winning run.
Robin Singh feels, under Pooran, there is no pressure on any player as long as they play to their potential.
“Pooran is pretty cool and an easy captain. He is somebody who expects people to go out and play to their best. He too plays in a similar manner. As long as you can go down and play a role to the best of your ability is quite fine with that.”
Robin Singh, who was at the helm of UAE during their team’s stunning run in the Twenty20 World Cup in Australia, where they defeated Namibia to end their long barren run in the showpiece, is happy with the progress the ILT20 league has made since its inception last year.
“Every league will get better and better. I’m pretty sure there a lot more seems to be happening around the league this year and looks exciting,” he concluded.