In the one decade of their existence, the Mumbai Indians haven’t given an extended run to any leg-spinner. Apart from the sporadic appearances from the likes of Yuzvendra Chahal and Karn Sharma, it has been Harbhajan Singh all the way as the franchise’s primary spinner, with Pragyan Ojha having played his part until 2014.
However, with Harbhajan most likely to change boats after not being retained, Mumbai could be eyeing a spinner vital to their fortunes in their pursuit of winning a fourth IPL, come summer 2018.
‘Revelation’ is an understatement for Rashid Khan: he has absolutely scorched the T20 scene with leg breaks: a clever concoction of variations and dexterity, one who isn’t afraid to toss the ball up. He can bamboozle batsmen with turn off the pitch, or with movement in the air.
He’s quick to the crease, the action is swift and deceptive, and can turn into the strike bowler to prise out wickets. Alternatively, he can send the batsmen into their shell with some quiet overs in the middle.
For Mumbai Indians, he could turn out to be the perfect choice as their lead spinner.
He made his mark with the IPL, a tournament he entered with few expectations and no big reputation. Sunrisers Hyderabad scooped him up for a massive Rs. 4 crores, and people were a little surprised by Tom Moody’s splurge.
Halfway through the tournament, Rashid was the leading wicket-taker and had startled the best in the world with his turn and bounce.
A leg-spinner in T20s is always a threat: the attacking nature of batsmen can be best neutralised by an attacking form of bowling, and leg-spin perfectly fits the bill.
With Rohit Sharma, Hardik Pandya and Jasprit Bumrah, the retained players for Mumbai, spearheading the batting, all-rounder and pace departments, an enigmatic spinner like Rashid Khan can be the perfect fit for Mumbai Indians.