Defending champions Mumbai Indians received a massive blow before the start of the 2020 Indian Premier League season. Lasith Malinga, the club stalwart and bowling maestro decided to drop out of the tournament back in early September. Now, franchise captain Rohit Sharma speaks up about the sabbatical of the Sri Lankan speedster in the squad and says that the absence of Malinga’s experience is indeed a setback for the team.
Lasith Malinga, the highest wicket-taker in the history of IPL, and a crucial member of all four trophies of Mumbai Indians decided to pull out of the 13th edition of the cash-rich league, as he wanted to return to Sri Lanka to attend his ill father.
Now with the 37-year-old pacer gone away from the MI contingent, Rohit Sharma elaborates on Malinga’s leave and its impact on the squad.
Not easy to fill his boots: Rohit Sharma claims Lasith Malinga will be irreplaceable in IPL 2020
Speaking in the pre-IPL online conference, Rohit Sharma acknowledged that finding a replacement for Lasith Malinga is no walk in the park. While there aren’t any abundance of bowling stalwarts in the Mumbai lineup, the skipper believes finding someone who can ‘fill his boots’ is tough.
“I don’t think it is easy to come and fill his boots. He has been a match-winner for Mumbai. I have said it many times. Whenever we sort of find ourselves in trouble, Malinga was the one to bail us out from that,” said the MI captain.
While he named possible substitutes such as the likes of James Pattison, Dhawal Kulkarni and Mohsin Khan, the Men in Blue ODI vice-captain admitted that it’s unparalleled to what the Lions icon brought to the table.
“His experience will be missed,” the Hitman went on, “what he did with MI is unbelievable and it is unfortunate that he is not a part of the team this year. We have got likes – (James) Pattinson, Dhawal Kulkarni, Mohsin (Khan) and these are the names that we are looking to replace Malinga with.”
“But obviously what Malinga did for Mumbai, it is not just comparable,” Rohit added.
Mumbai Indians will face Chennai Super Kings on the inaugural IPL 2020 match on 19th September at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi.