Mumbai Indians (MI) skipper Rohit Sharma said that batters Tilak Varma and Nehal Wadhera will play a big role for Mumbai Indians (MI) and the national side in the future and their story will be similar to that of former MI stars like Jasprit Bumrah, Hardik Pandya and Krunal Pandya, who have represented India at international level. The MI skipper had an exclusive interview with JioCinema ahead of the MI’s Indian Premier League (IPL) match against Lucknow Super Giants (LSG) which will take place in Chennai on Wednesday.
“The story of Tilak Varma & Nehal Wadhera will be similar to that of Jasprit Bumrah, Hardik Pandya and Krunal Pandya. After 2 years, people will say this is a superstar team – these two guys are going to play a big role for Mumbai and India in the future,” said Rohit during the interview.
Tilak was the find for MI in a disappointing 2022 season which saw them finish at the bottom. In 14 matches, he scored 397 runs at an average of 36.09 and a strike rate of 131.02. He scored two half-centuries in that season, with best score of 61. He carried this good form in the 2023 season as well. In nine matches, he has scored 274 runs at an average of 45.66 and a strike rate of 158.38. He scored one fifty this season, with the best score of 84*.
Nehal Wadhera, who had not played in any T20 match for his domestic team Punjab, also played some good knocks for MI. In 12 matches, he scored 214 runs at an average of 30.57 and a strike rate of 141.72. He scored two half-centuries, with the best score of 64.
On Suryakumar Yadav’s recent success with India and with Mumbai Indians, Rohit said, “Suryakumar Yadav is reaping the benefits of the hard work he has done since the last 9-10 years. He has done so much hard work in the Ranji trophy, domestic cricket and Mumbai Indians and the results pay off. He is a seasoned cricketer.”
Suryakumar is currently the eighth-highest run-scorer in IPL 2023. In 14 matches, he has scored 511 runs at an average of 42.58 and a strike rate of 185.58. He has scored a century and four fifties, with the best score of 103*. In Indian colours, he has replicated his franchise cricket success. In 48 matches and 46 innings, he has scored 1,675 runs at an average of 46.52 and a strike rate of 175.76. He has three centuries and 13 fifties in Indian colours. He was given the ICC Male T20I Player of the Year Award 2022 for his performances in the shorter format.
On what makes Mumbai Indians such a successful franchise, Rohit said that the passion and hunger everyone brings to the table has proven to be game-changing for the side.
“It is just the passion of people running the show, right from the owners, staff and the players. Everyone plays their role in helping MI achieve what it has achieved throughout these years. The passion we bring, the craziness we have is a game-changer. You got to have that hunger. It is not easy to win championships after championships every year. You can sit back and relax after one or two titles. But no, hunger and passion have to be there to win these titles. Every year is a new year for us. We do not look back at last year’s performances. We just take all the negatives and positives and move on,” said Rohit.
Rohit Sharma said that a key motto for MI is to give chances to youngsters to showcase their talent.
“MI is about giving opportunities to youngsters. So many players have gone on to play for India. Scouts work really hard during the off-season while spotting talent. I do not go and watch (the talents), I do get feedback and discussion from scouts. It is important to find the right age for youngsters. MI invests in the future. The average age of this squad is 24-25, which is really good. We believe in this since we have seen the results,” said the skipper.
MI ended the league stage with eight wins, six losses and 16 points to their name and at the fourth spot in the points table. If they lose this eliminator against LSG, they will be eliminated from the competition. If they win, they will play Gujarat Titans in Qualifier Two, which will decide the team which will lock horns with Chennai Super Kings in the final on May 28.
Lucknow Super Giants Squad: Quinton de Kock(w), Karan Sharma, Prerak Mankad, Marcus Stoinis, Krunal Pandya(c), Ayush Badoni, Nicholas Pooran, Krishnappa Gowtham, Ravi Bishnoi, Naveen-ul-Haq, Mohsin Khan, Yash Thakur, Deepak Hooda, Kyle Mayers, Yudhvir Singh Charak, Daniel Sams, Amit Mishra, Karun Nair, Manan Vohra, Mark Wood, Avesh Khan, Swapnil Singh, Romario Shepherd, Arpit Guleria, Suryansh Shedge
Mumbai Indians Squad: Ishan Kishan(w), Rohit Sharma(c), Cameron Green, Suryakumar Yadav, Nehal Wadhera, Tim David, Chris Jordan, Piyush Chawla, Kumar Kartikeya, Jason Behrendorff, Akash Madhwal, Vishnu Vinod, Tilak Varma, Ramandeep Singh, Tristan Stubbs, Sandeep Warrier, Riley Meredith, Shams Mulani, Arjun Tendulkar, Hrithik Shokeen, Duan Jansen, Arshad Khan, Dewald Brevis, Raghav Goyal.
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