Yuvraj was bagged at his base price of Rs.1 crore after he had gone unsold in the first round of bidding at the IPL auction in Jaipur on Tuesday. The 37-year old has been in poor form of late on the domestic circuit and was released into the auction pool by Kings XI Punjab after an underwhelming season last year.
“We always wanted an experienced middle-order batsman to guide our team,” Zaheer told CricketNext on the sidelines of launch of Ferit Cricket Bash, a league for amateur cricketers.
“That’s why we were bidding aggressively for Hanuma Vihari as well, who has plenty of domestic experience if not international matches under his belt. Yuvraj gave us best of everything. He comes with vast experience and is a devastating T20 batsman as well. So, I think we made a great investment in him.”
Besides Yuvraj, Mumbai bought four other players at the auction to shore up their already formidable squad — Barinder Singh Sran (Rs 3.4 crores), Lasith Malinga (Rs 2 crores), Anmolpreet Singh (Rs 80 lakh), Pankaj Jaswal (Rs 20 lakh) and Rasikh Dar (Rs 20 lakh).
“We were very clear what we needed from the auction,” Zaheer explained. “Mumbai Indians wanted to build a squad that could win them a championship again. (Lasith) Malinga played the role of coach for us last year but he is still the highest wickettaker in IPL. When we found out he was in form and bowling well, it was easy to pick Malinga to not only lead our attack but also mentor the young bowlers.”
Zaheer, who turned out in 92 Tests and 200 ODIs for India, is also excited about his new role with the franchise, having played previously for them for three seasons. Having ended his playing career after last season’s IPL, Zaheer is also eager to be more actively involved in coaching.
“I have always felt that I needed to be close to cricket since the day that I retired. I have a lot to offer to the young cricketers — both amateur and professional — as a coach and mentor,” the 40-year-old said. “I am definitely open to taking up a coach’s job. That’s the reason I have taken up this post with Mumbai Indians. It is my way of finding my way into cricket coaching.”
First Published: December 20, 2018, 6:12 AM IST