Mumbai Indians' think-tank of coach John Wright, Sachin Tendulkar and Anil Kumble. (BCCI)
Sachin Tendulkar is no longer playing for the Mumbai Indians, but the side's continuing slide in IPL 7 is "hurting" the team's 'Icon' and mentor, according to coach John Wright.
"We knew Sachin wasn't going to play IPL this year. He's part of the dugout and the change room, hurting with every other player," Wright said after Mumbai went down to the Chennai Super Kings in Dubai on Friday - the third straight loss for the defending champions, which gave them a 0/3 score so far in their title defence.
Mumbai Indians had appointed Sachin as the franchise's 'Icon' for IPL 7 after he hung his T20 boots following the Champions League T20 last year and later retired from international cricket in November. And the batting legend has been travelling with the side in the UAE leg of IPL 7.
Tendulkar the batsman must be devastated as fingers are being pointed at Mumbai's batting, with the 141 for 7 they scored against Chennai being their highest this season in three attempts. And the team's worried coach, Wright, wants to address that shortcoming soon.
"Our batting is not clicking and we're putting our bowlers under a lot of pressure. We've got a reasonable bowling attack but we can't expect them to defend small totals. We've got to find a solution very quickly. We need to make some changes in the batting order and take more risks," the New Zealander said after Friday's defeat.
The coach had special priase for Harbhajan Singh's two-wicket spell against Chennai. "Harbhajan Singh was magnificent. That over where he created three chances was the best I've seen him bowl in a single over," Wright said.
Names like Dwayne Smith, Glenn Maxwell, Mitchell Johnson and Dinesh Karthik - who were part of Mumbai's maiden IPL triumph last year - are playing for other franchises this year; and Wright seemed to be lamenting that, though he backed his current group. "Management had to let go of some players. When you're playing against them, you don't like seeing them perform well. We need to keep backing our new players and keep the faith in them," the former India coach said.