Bangalore: The Champions League Twenty20 2013 will be the last time many of the players in IPL sides play alongside each other as team-mates, with player auctions due before the 2014 season. For the Mumbai Indians, there is also the added factor of the tournament being Sachin Tendulkar's last with the side.
Anil Kumble, the former India captain and present Mumbai team mentor, said it would be fitting if the team sent Tendulkar off with a victory, and gave their fans one more piece of silverware after being crowned IPL VI champions earlier this year.
"He (Tendulkar) has been synonymous with Mumbai Indians right from the start of IPL," Kumble told the Mumbai Indians website. "It would be ideal for the boys to give him a fitting send-off. He has been a great contributor for Mumbai Indians all those years. Although he couldn't play in the last four-five games in IPL 2013, his contribution to the overall cause of the team has always been very important." (Also read: Want to win CLT20 for Sachin, says Harbhajan)
Tendulkar wasn't part of the playing XI that won the IPL title in 2013, beating Chennai Super Kings at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata on May 26. However, he announced that his IPL playing career was over immediately after the win, saying, "This is the right time to stop playing IPL. I am 40. I have to accept the reality. I had decided that this would be my last season. It has ended perfectly."
Kumble cautioned against letting the farewells and the possibility of the team not remaining the same after the auctions, getting the better of players. "Emotions can't be brought into a game," he said. "It won't help a player's performance. Emotions would obviously be there, but they have to be kept in check. We don't know what's going to happen in the next IPL. The rules of the auctions are not yet announced so it would be difficult to comment on it. But these emotions have to be kept in check. Every player understands that." (Premium entertainment guaranteed)
Mumbai will also be without the services of Lasith Malinga, their pace spearhead, who is skipping the tournament due to the impending birth of his second child in late September. While Kumble admitted Malinga would be missed, he reasoned it was an opportunity for other players in the squad to grab a spot.
"He (Malinga) has been a critical part of the MI set-up for such a long time. He has that special ability of bowling yorkers at will, bowling slower ones at will, and batsmen don't know what's coming next," acknowledged Kumble. "But this brings us another opportunity - to give chance to try out some other guys we have in the team. Nathan Coulter-Nile, who has already shown his ability in the limited opportunities that he has got, could get more chances. Someone like Glen Maxwell might get more opportunities."
Kumble also looked forward to more contributions from Rohit Sharma, who took over as captain of the team after Ricky Ponting, the designated captain, opted to sit out after the first six matches of IPL VI, due to a lack of form.
"Rohit was the highlight of the IPL," said Kumble. "He was given the additional responsibility of leading the side, and he took that extremely well. He opened for India in the Champions Trophy, and did well. He was always an exceptionally talented player. With experience and maturity, he understands his game better now."
Kumble said the pressure of being the current IPL champions was there, but it could also act as a spur and fill the side with confidence in the CLT20. (Related: Pakistan champions Faisalabad Wolves get all-venue visas)
"I think we can carry that confidence into the CLT20. It's important to create a momentum, and then carry it into the tournament," he said. "We need to show that confidence right from the first game. Everybody is up to it and hopefully we can go all the way."