Defending champions Mumbai Indians showcased a dominant brand of cricket during the last season of the Indian Premier League, to clinch the coveted championship trophy for the fifth time. While several MI players were instrumental in their success, they are going to miss the services of a prominent member as South Africa's Quinton de Kock could give the upcoming edition of the cash-rich league a miss. However, they have swashbuckling batter Chris Lynn in their line-up, who appears to be the ideal replacement.
Australia's Chris Lynn has successfully carved a niche for himself in the shortest format of the game. The destructive opening batter has performed significantly well in franchise-based T20 leagues over the year and he also has proved his mettle in the Indian Premier League during his stint with the Kolkata Knight Riders. Fans were overjoyed when the player was picked up by the Mumbai Indians ahead of the 13th season.
The dynamic batsman did not get a game though, as Quinton de Kock was the preferred opening partner alongside either captain Rohit Sharma or Ishan Kishan. However, uncertainty looms over the South African's participation in the competition this year, as Andrew Breetzke, the South African Cricketers Association and Cricket South Africa (CSA) CEO, in a conversation with ESPNCricinfo, recently confirmed that the based on medical advice, the wicketkeeper-batsman will be on a break for a few weeks. Although de Kock is planning for a comeback in the home series against Pakistan in April, he is anyway set to miss the first 2-3 weeks of the IPL, assuming that it will begin on April 11 as he will have to quarantine for 1-2 weeks on arrival.
On the other hand, Chris Lynn seems to be in scintillating form, and he played exceptionally well for the Brisbane Heat in the recently concluded Big Bash League. The 30-year-old smashed 458 runs in just 13 innings, at an impressive strike-rate of 154.73. The player also crossed the 50-run mark on five occasions in BBL 10. The Australian currently seems to be the frontrunner for the vacant opening spot in the MI team, if Quinton de Kock is unavailable for the season.
The team management released decided to stick with most of their core players for the forthcoming edition. While Chris Lynn, who did not feature in a single fixture for them was ultimately retained by the franchise, they parted ways with Lasith Malinga (retired), Mitch McClenaghan, James Pattinson, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Sherfane Rutherford, Prince Balwant Rai and Digvijay Deshmukh were released by the defending champions ahead of the IPL auction.
MI retained players: Rohit Sharma (C), Aditya Tare, Anmolpreet Singh, Anukul Roy, Dhawal Kulkarni, Hardik Pandya, Ishan Kishan, Jasprit Bumrah, Jayant Yadav, Kieron Pollard, Krunal Pandya, Quinton de Kock, Rahul Chahar, Suryakumar Yadav, Trent Boult, Chris Lynn, Saurabh Tiwary, Mohsin Khan.
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