Rohit Sharma has been the most successful captain in the Indian Premier League (IPL), guiding Mumbai Indians to five titles. And having watched Rohit emerge as one of the prominent leaders, Zaheer Khan – the director of cricket operations at the franchise – believes that the time the MI skipper ‘dedicates to each’ player of the team, makes him a role model.
“Rohit is a player’s captain. He’s been phenomenal for Mumbai Indians over the years as a player and a leader. The fact that he dedicates personal time to each individual and is very approachable, makes him a role model and a standout leader,” Zaheer told Sportstar.
The former India fast bowler, who has been associated with the Mumbai outfit for years, believes that with Rohit’s guidance, a lot of individuals could be groomed as leaders. “We have always been a team which promotes and gives freedom to youngsters. With Rohit’s experience and attitude, I believe we will have a lot of individuals who would be groomed as leaders in their own respective ways…” Zaheer added.
While the franchise kept the core intact by retaining captain Rohit, Jasprit Bumrah, Kieron Pollard and Suryakumar Yadav, the team made some smart buys in the auction, last month. “We are very happy with the team. As always, we have created a strong and competitive squad. A big auction also gives you the chance to plan ahead and work on balancing short and long-term goals as a team. We have managed to retain the core of the squad. And with the exciting buys, created a fine mix between experience and youth,” Zaheer said.
Zaheer Khan, Mumbai Indians’ director of cricket operations. – MUMBAI INDIANS MEDIA – MUMBAI INDIANS
“We have a tradition of encouraging and promoting fresh talent. This year too, we have invested in a few youngsters. They were identified by our scouts who rate them very highly. We welcome them and hope to see them excel on the field….”
With the tournament being played across Mumbai and Pune, how much of an advantage will the franchise have during the group leg of the tournament?
“Yes, Mumbai has been our home but it’s not that we’re playing all our matches at Wankhede. If you see, all teams are playing relatively the same amount of matches at all venues. So, I don’t think there would be any advantage or disadvantage for any team,” Zaheer said, “I believe all teams start with a clean slate…”
Mumbai Indians will begin its campaign against Delhi Capitals at the Brabourne Stadium on March 27.