Suryakumar Yadav was India’s heart throb in the shortest format of the game last year. Not only did he score most runs for them in T20Is in 2022, he also notched up three centuries inside a span of six months to re-emphasize his importance in the T20 lineup.
However, Surya walks into IPL 2023 with the low of the ODI series that was between India and Australia. The talismanic middle order batter was dismissed for a golden duck in all three of the matches and was unable to meet the bat with the ball as India lost 2-1.
Mumbai Indians captain Rohit Sharma though, has backed him to deliver come the new season. “Surya is fine. Hopefully the crowd will cheer for him and he’ll get back to business. He is probably the best T20 player in the world,” Rohit said in a pre-season press conference.
A bigger cause of concern for Rohit and the think tank will be the absence of their star bowler Jasprit Bumrah, who’s been out of action since September 2022 following a recurring back injury. “Jasprit Bumrah’s role was quite important for Mumbai Indians, it’s a big shoe to fill. Jofra was with us last season also but unfortunately, he could not play due to an injury everyone knows that he is a quality player. Also in the absence of Jasprit, several young players have a great opportunity,” he said.
Among the youngsters, Rohit suggested that the management was keeping a keen eye on Arjun Tendulkar, who is yet to make his IPL debut but looks good to go this season for the five-time champions.
“Arjun Tendulkar is playing good cricket in recent times. He was injured but today he will start his bowling,” Rohit said of the 23-year-old.
Head coach Mark Boucher would reiterate the same, “Arjun has been playing good cricket for some time, he is bowling well, we are thinking that he will play in the playing XI this year.”
Boucher was also optimistic of Jofra Archer’s chances to shine in the upcoming season, following his own bout with a recurring injury. “He’s been playing recently. Hopefully he can kick-start the IPL with a bang.”
Mumbai Indians will face Royal Challengers Bangalore in their first match of the season on Sunday, April 2.