The 34-year-old has been a crucial component of the Mumbai side’s success in the IPL over the course of the past decade but went unsold in the auctions this time around.
Malinga will now join a high-profile coaching staff at the franchise which includes Mahela Jayawardene as the head coach, batting coach Robin Singh, bowling coach Shane Bond and fielding coach James Pemmet.
“It’s a great opportunity to be present with, and an honour to continue my association with Mumbai Indians. Mumbai has been my home away from home for the last decade. As a player, I have enjoyed the journey with Mumbai Indians and now as mentor, I look forward to the new chapter,” Malinga said after his appointment.
Mumbai Indians owner Akash Ambani was delighted to have the Sri Lankan onboard ahead of the 11th edition of the IPL.
“Mumbai Indians has proven record of scouting and bringing forth the young talents at National stage. It will be a boon for these youngsters as well the established ones to have the combine force of Shane Bond and Lasith Malinga to back them,” he said.
“Malinga has been a pillar of strength for Mumbai Indians since the inception of the team, and his passion for the team will help us achieve new heights,” Ambani added.
The veteran has appeared in 110 of the total 156 matches the franchise has played in the decade-long competition.
The mega-auction style of the Indian Premier League (IPL) has come under fire from the New Zealand Zealand Cricket Players Association (NZCPA).
In an interview with the New Zealand Herald, Heath Mills, chief executive of the NZPCA said: “The IPL Auction is such an undignified, cruel and unnecessary employment practice. Ridiculous that it exists today, belongs in the medieval ages.
“There’s a lot of good things about the IPL and it’s been great for cricket but I’d like to see it mirror the rest of professional sport in the way they engage athletes,” Mills added.
This brings up the question of whether the IPL needs to move away from the auction system into a draft style approach adopted by many professional leagues around the world.
Since its inception in 2008, the IPL has incorporated the ‘mega’ auction which has turned into a spectacle of its own. When once thinks about the scramble for the world’s best cricketers, the picture of auctioneer Richard Madley wielding the hammer springs to mind immediately.
While the approach of the various franchises bidding for an individual player makes for some great television, it does present the possibility of a player going unsold for all to see. Several big names have gone unsold over the years with England’s Joe Root the latest such example.
The very idea that a player has no control over his destiny once entered in the auction seems to run contrary to most professional leagues. Not many have complained until now as the IPL kept creating cricket’s newest millionaires but the auction-style approach was always going to be questioned at some point.
The signs are there that the IPL has been mulling over a change and it was all but confirmed by its chief operating officer Hemang Amin at the end of the recently concluded two-day action.
“Going forward, the thinking is that we will reduce, maybe not have mega auctions, but consider having a draft system for new players to come in, which acts as feeder system to teams. Hence, IPL Governing Council is thinking on the lines of how to cut down on the big auction and have the continuity with teams,” he had stated.
Continuity with the teams will be important for the eight franchises in the league to create a sustainable fan base over the years. The constant chopping and changing over the past decade has seen players turn out for three to four different franchises in recent years.
To parade the players like cattle in the auction oversteps some ethical boundaries while also hampering continuity across the teams. A draft system is now the need of the hour. The IPL has shown signs that it is willing to evolve and such a move in upcoming editions would be very much welcome.
The IPL auction can be a painful to watch for some of the players involved. Will franchises even bid? Will life change overnight with a million dollars or so in the account? It can all prove to be a major distraction, especially if the players are playing competitive cricket at the time.
Since auctions are dictated by franchises’ own needs and player analysis, it is difficult to say with certainty which names will get the fattest contracts. Even so, some decisions do leave cricket fans and experts scratching their heads days after the end of the sale.
For two straight years, franchises have not selected the top-ranked T20 bowler in the world. What’s more, both are leg-spinners.
In 2017, South African leggie Imran Tahir went unsold during the auction despite being the No1 bowler in the world in T20s and even ODIs. Luckily for him, he was later signed as a replacement by Rising Pune Supergiant for injured Aussie all-rounder Mitchell Marsh.
Tahir went on to enjoy a stellar IPL 2017. In 12 matches, he picked up 18 wickets at an economy of 7.8. This year, Tahir was snapped up by Chennai Super Kings.
No.1 T20I team's players not part of IPL.— Bharath Seervi (@SeerviBharath) January 28, 2018
No. 1 T20I bowler unsold twice in the auction - Sodhi
No. 1 T20I batsman and all-rounder fetch not-so-high bids - Munro (1.9Cr) & Shakib (2Cr).
Still, IPL is the No. 1 T20 league. https://t.co/yxHrAvrBJn
But while the 38-year-old Tahir was ‘bought’, Kiwi leggie Ish Sodhi failed to elicit any response during the two-day auction this week.
Sodhi has played 87 T20 matches with 97 wickets to his name at an economy of 7.6. In 21 international matches, Sodhi has 31 scalps at an economy of 7.1. Are we missing something here?
There can be a lot of reasons why a player, especially a non-Indian, doesn’t get picked. The main reason is teams can only field four foreign names in the playing XI. Even so, not picking the No1 T20 bowler in the world (at least at first go) who happens to be a leg-spinner for two straight years doesn’t reflect too well on the collective wisdom of the franchises.
Sodhi has now slipped to No3 in the world in T20s. Such is life.