Top 3 bowlers Mumbai Indians could target in the auction

Ameya Vaidya

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Mumbai Indians had a lackluster season in last year's Indian Premier League. Despite having won the tournament in 2013, 2015 and 2017, Mumbai Indians struggled quite miserably in their previous season.

Their picks in the 2018 IPL Auction were quite questionable like going for Mustafizur who had changed his action due to injury. Also, letting go of proven performers such as Ambati Rayudu, Nitish Rana and Jos Butler proved disastrous for the team.

Having finished fifth in the table last season, Mumbai Indians will undoubtedly look to again establish their dominance in the league by buying some key players in the auction to strengthen their squad.

With Lasith Malinga becoming Mumbai Indians' bowling mentor last season, the owners will look to buy some good bowlers to support Bumrah in the bowling department. 

Let us have a look at the top three bowlers Mumbai Indians could target in the auction.

#3 Mohammed Shami

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Mohammed Shami will probably be the most sought Indian capped bowler in this year's auction. Having picked up just 3 wickets in four matches last season at an average of 40 and economy rate of 10.40, Shami has been released by the Delhi Daredevils and hence will feature in the 2019 IPL Auction.

Despite being unable to adapt his line and length in the past few seasons as per the requirements of the T20 format, Mohammed Shami has the talent, pace and dedication to overcome these difficulties.

Mumbai Indians, except for Jasprit Bumrah, lack Indian fast bowlers in their bowling department. This area has been one of their problems for a long time. Hence, in the coming auction, they need to strengthen this department to be competitive in the tournament.

Shami can prove to be an excellent solution to this roadblock. With the legendary Shane Bond as the bowling coach of Mumbai Indians, he can help Shami to improve his line and length in this format.

Shami's knowledge and experience will also help nurture the domestic bowlers in the Mumbai Indians' camp.

#2 Jaydev Unadkat

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Jaydev Unadkat was the main talking point in last year's IPL auction. After a successful season for the Rising Pune Supergiants in 2017 IPL, where he picked up 24 wickets, he was picked by the Rajasthan Royals for a whopping 11.5 crores which made him the most expensive Indian player bought in the IPL auction last year. 

In 15 matches, he picked up just 11 wickets at an average of 44.18 and economy rate of 9.65. Being released by the Rajasthan Royals, he is up for grabs at the auction.

Despite going through an offseason in the IPL 2018, he has the credentials of a good T20 bowler as he is a good death bowler due to his ability to bowl well-disguised slower balls.

Unadkat can be a good back-up for Jasprit Bumrah, and hence the Mumbai Indians should be looking at him at the 2019 auction.

#1 Axar Patel

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Axar Patel has been one of the brightest prospects for the limited overs Indian cricket team from the Indian Premier League so far. After being signed by Kings XI Punjab in 2014, he picked up 14 wickets in his debut season.

Axar's accurate bowling reaped good benefits for his team in the last few seasons as they were able to win close games despite having a poor pace attack. And so, he was the only player who was retained by the Kings XI Punjab before the 2018 IPL Auction last year.

In 68 matches, Axar has picked up 61 wickets at an average of 28.93 and economy rate of 7.52. If the Mumbai Indians buy him in the auction, then it will lead to a healthy competition between Krunal Pandya and him for a place in the starting XI. Also, it will strengthen the spin department of the team which is lacking in quality Indian spinners.