Although handicapped by the absence of their pace injured spearhead Lasith Malinga, who may miss the entire IPL season 9 commencing in Mumbai on Saturday, title holders Mumbai Indians are quite confident that there are others capable of stepping into the Sri Lankan’s shoes.
“The (franchise) owners and (head coach) Ricky (Ponting) have done a good job in recruiting a couple of fast bowlers in the side. So we have cover for him. If he arrives fit, he will surely fit into our squad. If he doesn’t, we have good cover for him,” said MI’s bowling coach Shane Bond on Friday ahead of the team’s lung-opener against new outfit, Rising Pune Supergiants.
“Nothing changes, like in any injury, that is the depth of the squad. When it comes to IPL during the course of time, there were 16 players, so you cannot rely on one player,” added Bond over Malinga’s injury-forced absence at least for the first half of the round robin stage.
Malinga, who played a major rule last year by taking 24 wickets in 15 games in MI’s memorable come from behind run to the title for the second time, has hurt his knee and was unable to be the bowling spearhead for his country, Lanka, in the World T20 that concluded on April 3.
On Thursday Ponting had also confidently said that there were adequate replacements if Malinga is ruled out of the entire season 9 of the T20 league.
“If you look at last season when we were playing our best cricket, Malinga was bowling at his best, as well. He’s been one of the great performers in world cricket with the new as well as the old ball. He will be definitely missed, but we have more than adequate replacements if he’s ruled out,” the former Australia captain said on Thursday at his media conference.
Bond, similar to Ponting, hailed the improvement shown by young seam bowler Jasprit Bumrah since the last season when he was coming back from a serious knee injury.