New Delhi: Mumbai Indians arguably have the best team in the tournament - in fact they have always had a very strong squad. That's why it comes as a big surprise that they are yet to lift the trophy.
Mumbai is a balanced side and that's what makes it a serious contender. However, the Ricky Ponting factor just might do the trick for them this time. Ponting, who was bought at the February auction, will captain the side this season and we all know what an inspirational leader he can be. And then there is Sachin Tendulkar, who chose to stand down from captaincy, and Lasith Malinga, Kieron Pollard, Harbhajan Singh and Rohit Sharma who are proven match-winners. Also, exciting Aussie prospect Glenn Maxwell promises big after attracting a fee of $1 million.
Mumbai's best season was 2010 when they finished runners-up; their worst was in 2009 when they finished seventh in an eight-team tournament. They finished third and fourth in the 2011 and 2012 editions respectively. Clearly, their performance is not in line with their strength both in batting and bowling.
They are favourites to reach the play-offs like the past two years but the question is can they win it? The killer instinct has been an issue with them all these years but with the arrival of Ponting that might not be the case this time. When all is said and done, irrespective of what Ponting brings to the table, there is no denying that Mumbai are one of the tournament's favourites.
Key players: Ricky Ponting, Sachin Tendulkar, Lasith Malinga
Players dropped: Clint McKay, Richard Levi, Thisara Perera, Davy Jacobs, Sujit Nayak, Jaydev Shah, Herschelle Gibbs
Players bought: Ricky Ponting ($400,000), Phillip Hughes ($100,000), Glenn Maxwell ($1 million), Nathan Coulter-Nile ($450,000), Jacob Oram ($50,000)
Players retained: Abu Nechin, Aditya Tare, Munaf Patel, Pawan Suyal, Suryakumar Yadav, Rohit Sharma, Sachin Tendulkar, Sushant Marathe, Rahul Shukla, Yuzvendra Chahal, Pragyan Ojha, Dhawal Kulkarni, Amitoze Singh, Aiden Blizzard, Ambati Rayudu, Kieron Pollard, Mitchell Johnson, James Franklin, Dinesh Karthik, Lasith Malinga, Harbhajan Singh
Foreign players: Dwayne Smith, Glenn Maxwell, Jacob Oram, James Franklin, Kieron Pollard, Lasith Malinga, Mitchell Johnson, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Philip Hughes, Ricky Ponting, Aiden Blizzard
Domestic players: Abu Nechim Ahmed, Akshar Patel, Aditya Tare, Ambati Rayudu, Amitoze Singh, Dhawal Kulkarni, Dinesh Karthik, Harbhajan Singh, Jalaj Saxena, Munaf Patel, Pawan Suyal, Pragyan Ojha, Rishi Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Sachin Tendulkar, Suryakumar Yadav, Sushant Marathe, Yuzvendra Chahal