Mumbai Indians will face a huge dilemma before they decide their retained list of players ahead of the 2022 IPL mega auction. With a series of match-winners, Mumbai Indians (MI) will have to let go of some of their key players to be auctioned in IPL 2022. In all likelihood, MI will retain their skipper Rohit Sharma followed by their premier pacer in Jasprit Bumrah. While there will be talks around the retention of the third player, a number of options are likely to be discussed as part of Mumbai Indians' pre-auction strategy. In IPL 2018, MI retained Hardik Pandya as their third player alongside Rohit and Bumrah.
However, in the IPL 2022 mega auction, Mumbai might be tempted to consider other options due to Hardik's lack of bowling in the recent past. Kieron Pollard, who has been Mumbai's best overseas all-rounder in the IPL, could be a viable choice ahead of Hardik Pandya.
Here's a look at 3 players Mumbai Indians can retain instead of Hardik Pandya in the IPL 2022 Mega Auction:
1. Kieron Pollard
The Caribbean T20 giant, Kieron Pollard could be one of the players retained by Mumbai Indians in IPL 2022. Pollard has been one of the greatest match-winners for Mumbai in the history of IPL. He has had an influential role in each of MI's five title wins in the IPL. In the 2022 mega auction, Mumbai could play a strategic move by retaining Pollard ahead of Pandya considering what the West Indian has to offer.
The franchise might use the Right to Match (RTM) card for Pandya but won't gamble taking that risk for Pollard at the auction table. Knowing that most IPL franchises would go after Pollard, it might rule out an opportunity to use an RTM card to win him back in their IPL squad.
2. Suryakumar Yadav
Suryakumar Yadav has been a gun player for Mumbai Indians in the last three seasons. Ever since he was roped into the MI IPL squad in 2018, Yadav has been a regular feature in the MI playing XI. He has played some match-winning innings at crucial junctures in the IPL for his home-based side. His ability to play a dual role at No.3 has earned him accolades from all corners of the world.
Mumbai Indians will hope to retain the services of Yadav even at the IPL 2022 mega auction. It would be a tough decision for the franchise to retain Surya ahead of Hardik but can prove to be a masterstroke in the longer run.
3. Trent Boult
Trent Boult joined the Mumbai Indians setup in IPL 2020 in a player trade from Delhi Capitals. The left-arm pacer had an immediate impact on Mumbai's triumphant campaign as he emerged as the third-highest wicket-taker of the tournament. Boult shouldered the new ball duties for Mumbai and was impeccable with his consistency throughout the tournament.
Despite a less eye-catchy performance in IPL 2021, Boult could still be retained by Mumbai in 2022. He forms a deadly pairing with Bumrah in the bowling department and can prove to be a massive success going forward.