Zaheer Khan, Mumbai Indians’ Director of Cricket Operations, has opened up about his side’s retention strategy. The five-time IPL champions shocked many when they decided to retain 34-year-old West Indies all-rounder Kieron Pollard. Zaheer admitted that it was the influence of the all-rounder in the dressing room, which prompted them to retain him.
The Mumbai-based side has several talented and young players in their ranks, making it even more difficult for them to choose just four men for retention.
Mumbai retained four players, the first of which was skipper Rohit Sharma (Rs 16 crore). The second player on the list was pace spearhead Jasprit Bumrah (Rs 12 cr) followed by dashing middle-order batter Suryakumar Yadav (Rs 8 crore). Mumbai made just one overseas retention in Pollard for Rs 6 crore.
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Zaheer heaped praise on Pollard for being the leader of the pack for the longest time. He reckoned that Pollard is still among one of the best finishers in the game.
“Pollard has been the leader of this group for the longest time. One of the strongest finishers in the game. His influence around the team has been great. He leads from the front with Rohit Sharma. So each guys who are retained, they are leaders in their own positions, and in their own rights,” Zaheer told Cricbuzz.
Kieron Pollard is the longest-serving player in the Mumbai Indians squad. He has been with the team since 2010 and won five titles with them.
“Lot of the players started their journey here, they’ve groomed themselves here and a lot of the players from this group have gone on to represent their respective countries. So that’s what you feel proud about. It’s not the end of the road, that’s how one should look at it. So there’s still a chance that we get a lot of them back,” Zaheer concluded.
Mumbai Indians were forced to release some of the core members of their group such as Hardik Pandya, Ishan Kishan, Quinton de Kock, Krunal Pandya and Trent Boult.
On the players that Mumbai couldn’t retain, Zaheer expressed pride that they started their career with Mumbai Indians and went on to represent their countries in international cricket