IPL 2020: MI Press Conference Highlights - On Hardik Pandya, Jasprit Bumrah, Spin Options and More

Mumbai Indians captain Rohit Sharma and coach Mahela Jayawardene held a joint press conference on Thursday, where they spoke about key players like Hardik Pandya and Jasprit Bumrah, adjusting to UAE conditions, mental health issues and more.

IPL 2020: MI Press Conference Highlights - On Hardik Pandya, Jasprit Bumrah, Spin Options and More

Mumbai Indians captain Rohit Sharma and coach Mahela Jayawardene held a joint press conference on Thursday, where they spoke about key players like Hardik Pandya and Jasprit Bumrah, adjusting to UAE conditions, mental health issues and more. Excerpts:

On Hardik returning from injury

Jayawardene: Hardik is coming from an injury so we have to be mindful of that but he is looking goods in the net. Both of them are. We have used him as a finisher in the past but we have quite a lot of options. So whenever the opportunity is there, we will ask anyone to finish the game off. It doesn’t just fall on Hardik but it is one of his responsibilities. So we want to try and challenge players in different ways.

On Jasprit Bumrah

Jayawardene: Yes I think he has been training really hard during the quarantine period. Because of his Indian commitment as well. He has gone through lot of work out and has had a lot of bowling at home as well to keep up with the load. He has a test series after the ipl so we will try and maintain that for him. He looks quite sharp for the ipl he is very professional and looked after himself quite well in the quarantine and is ready to go out there and perform in the ipl.

On Krunal Pandya's importance in UAE

Jayawardene: Yeah generally the pitches will help most of the spinners and Krunal will be a big part of it. I think Rahul Chahhar, Jayant (Yadav) and we have signed a new youngster and Balwant as well. So all our spinners are in contention and everyone’s got the responsibility. You just have to do the basics. There is no added pressure on spinners, they just have to go out and execute the plans but definitely they will be more effective in these conditions and we are looking forward to that. We are confident about our group of bowlers.

ALSO READ: Rohit Sharma Set to Open With Quinton de Kock for MI, But Keeps All Options Open

Conditions in UAE

Rohit Sharma: We all know because of the conditions. You know, the weather here is so hot and humid, the wickets will tire down. Having played Asia cup couple of years back, I certainly experienced that the first game we played and the finals we played, there was a lot of difference between the behaviours of pitches. We expect the same it is going to be a long tournament. We know how many matches are going to be played at each venue so the wickets will tire down and the slowness of the pitch will be a big factor. For us, all the talks has been happening based on that. We need to understand and we need to adapt on how to play cricket on those kind of pitches. What lengths to bowl, what shots to play. What will be the percentage shot what will be the percentage ball. It’s not just the spinners but I think even the seamers will have a lot of assistance. Not the swing not the seam movement but we are expecting some reverse swing. We have some quality which will explore that. We have got balance we have got good variety in our bowling attack. So we can use it depending on the condition, depending on the opposition we are playing. Same goes for the batting as well. We need to understand the shots that will give you runs on this pitch it’s not just about coming and hitting boundaries and sixes it’s also about the other options that you can take to make sure that you reach to an effective score towards the end. All the will happen and the talks will happen around that.

Which spinner do you like in your team?

Rohit Sharma: I like everyone, I am the captain I’ve to like everyone. There’s no special mention about any individual. It’s a team game, we all have to contribute and I am looking forward to the same from the spin department from all these guys who we have like Krunal, Rahul, we’ve got a youngster in the auction this year Balwant, he looks exciting. There are few options. Anukul has been a part of the team for a while. We’ve some quality spin in our group and hopefully they can explore the conditions. All these guys have experience playing domestic cricket in India. I hope they can use their experience to come out here and do the same for Mumbai Indians as well.

ALSO READ: Top 10 Wicket-takers for Mumbai Indians in the History of IPL

How are the youngsters gearing up for the season? How have you approached them considering the tournament is happening overseas?

Rohit Sharma: They are doing pretty well. We had a little camp before we came here in Mumbai so there was some time to see these younger players who I hadn’t seen before and I saw great potential in most of them and obviously they are quite keen to perform and take the responsibility. It’s a good sign for our team that all these younger players want to take the responsibility. It’s a good sign. For my side it’s just about giving them confidence making sure they are in the comfortable space. It’s just another game they’ll be playing, if they play. All those things are really important from my perspective. We will do everything everything we can to make sure they are in a good zone to come out and perform.

With players being away from home for such a long time. How will you plan to keep them motivated and free from mental health issues?

Jayawardene: Very important questions. Lot of them will probably will go for further commitments after IPL. We plan different things. One is to create an environment within the hotel so that they are looked after. Most of the players are travelling with their families, that’s good. So that they are spending time with them and rest of the guys, we are trying to keep them occupied with different activities. It’s just cricket oriented, it’s other things as well. It’s a bit of challenge but we are looking after that. It’s about making an environment so that they can focus and enjoy.

Some teams are travelling without families but MI have their support system in UAE. How important was this decision to travel with families, especially since the pandemic situation?

Rohit Sharma: Yeah I think, I can’t talk for the other teams but we can only control what’s happening here and we decided that it’ll be nice to have people around. Players have been given the option to have the family around. It depends on what the player wants. Times like this, you always want your family to be around you. It’s important for me, to have them around, just to be sure to keep myself mentally fine and not worrying about them when they are back home. When they are around, it’s always nice and you’re not in two thoughts when they’re back home. Most of the families are here, some families will be joining once the tournament starts. It’s like a one big family for us here and we can make the use of the wonderful place here as well.

Despite the numerous protection of the bio bubble, there is always a worry about someone testing positive. How difficult is it as a coach to plan such situations with matches coming thick and fast?

Jayawardene: The pandemic is such, it’s difficult to control everything but we are trying to control everything we can. Along the way we have planned. Just in case if someone gets positive or there is a small cluster of player because of close proximities, they might get isolated from the main group. We have planned for all that. When you are planning to go through the tournament, one thing what we have done is that even in the group when we are doing certain events or guys spending time together, we have asked everyone to take maximum precautions and not take anything lightly. As there’s always a chance that one person might pick it up. We will try and take all precautions and plan for everything. That’s what the management is always been doing. It’s all about plans but hopefully everyone’s disciplined and we go through the season without any issue.

IPL is kick starting sports for India. How do you see it bring positivity and hope for all sportsmen?

Rohit Sharma: I think yes it’s a very important thing for us as role models to make sure that we send the right message across to the country to the people of India and the world. To make sure that whatever we do, we need to be making sure that we are following the discipline, we are maintaining social distancing. We do understand how important sports is in India and for us to kick start, it gives us amount of pleasure as well. I know the whole of India is waiting for the IPL to start and we know how it is in April and May when IPL is around the corner. It’s like a festival in India. So obviously people are looking forward to this wonderful tournament and we all want to do the same and bring positivity to you all. Making sure at the same time we are telling the people of India to be safe and follow the protocols till this situation gets resolved. We can’t take anything for granted. We are doing the same here, we are making sure that all necessary protocols and discipline has been followed and we would expect the same for the people all over the world till situation gets under control. We need to be careful and mindful of what we do. Once things are back to normal, it’ll be a great thing for us. We all want to go out the park without thinking about anything. For us to do that it stars from now. We have to make sure everything is followed.

Upcoming Matches