Following a dismal start to the Indian Premier League season this year, Australian veteran and Mumbai Indians latest recruit Michael Hussey seems to have lost his place in the top-order. Despite scoring 30 runs in the four out of five matches Hussey has played for Mumbai so far, former India skipper and current commentator Ravi Shastri believes Mumbai need to keep their faith in the left-handed opener.
Talking about the leading run-scorer of IPL 2013, Shastri wrote in his column for Times of India, "I wouldn't let go of Michael Hussey. There is too much class and pride in that frame. He is rusty, but he is still your best bet."
He went on to make a bold statment, saying, "Mumbai's hopes will float and sink with Michael Hussey. The fate of the two are linked together."
Mumbai, the 2013 champions, have suffered five straight defeats and are nowhere close to looking like a side that can defend their title. Shastri, however, believes things could turnaround as the tournament has returned to India. "In previous editions, Mumbai gained most ground in home matches. They now have three back-to-back matches in Wankhede," he wrote. Last year, Mumbai won all their eight matches at Wankhede Stadium.
Following Mumbai's UAE nightmare, where they failed to win a single game, NDTV expert Dean Jones wondered if the presence of legends like Sachin Tendulkar and Ricky Ponting was hampering the team's progress and performance. Ravi Shastri too raised a similar point. "The galaxy sits on the Mumbai bench. Tendulkar, Ponting, Kumble, Rhodes and John Wright are some of the game's biggest names. But certain things are best managed by players. Advice can only take you so far," he wrote.
Almost as if responding to Jones' claims, Mumbai skipper Rohit Sharma wrote in his column in the Times of India, refuting that there is added pressure because of the stalwarts. "I've come across the view that the presence of so many stalwarts might have proven counter-productive. Nothing could be further from the truth. These guys haven't told us how to play, rather they've given us total freedom to go out there and express ourselves in terms of how we want to play our cricket," Rohit wrote.
The Indian leg will be a fresh chapter for the Mumbai Indians where they will look to make the Wankhede Stadium their citadel once again in a bid to make it to the top four.