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'It's not even a question': MI player names 'clear' candidate 5-time IPL champs must retain, says 'no one on that level'

Hindustan Times logo Hindustan Times 29-11-2021, New Delhi

As the deadline approaches for the IPL franchises to finalise the four players they would want to retain, things have started to get interesting. With November 30 being the final date, multiple reports have surfaced suggesting players whom the franchise is keen or not interested in retaining. While this promises to not be an easy decision for any team, one franchise in particular that would be scratching its head over it is Mumbai Indians.

As five-time champions, MI have over the years been heavily reliant on their star-studded line-up, from top to bottom. The likes of Rohit Sharma, Hardik Pandya, Jasprit Bumrah, Kieron Pollard, Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan, Trent Boult and others have been instrumental behind the team's success, and with only four players allowed to be retained, the franchise finds itself in a bit of a tough spot.

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With Rohit and Bumrah expected to be the top two names on their list, and Pollard being a potential third, the toss up for the fourth retention becomes a lot trickier. With Ishan proving his mettle with a half-century each in the last three games of IPL 2021, clamours for his retention are beginning to grow louder, but Hardik cannot be ignored either. The all-rounder may not be in the best of forms, but given the impact he has had, it will not be easy for MI to ignore him.

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One of MI's players, fast bowler Mitchell McClenaghan, has backed Hardik to the hilt to be retained by the franchise. Replying to a tweet posted by ESPNCricinfo, which said: 'If Mumbai Indians could retain only one of them, who should it be?', with a collage of Hardik, Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan and Krunal Pandya, McClenaghan supported the 28-year-old all-rounder to continue with MI.

"Clearly Hardik. It's not even a question - there is a severe lack of Indian all-rounders and finishers. No one on that level as of yet," McClenaghan said.

Pandya's future with India and MI has been a hot topic of debate since his form with both bat and ball has been on the wane. While Pandya has hardly rolled his arms over, he has failed to come up with impressive scores. His last half-century in any form came in March earlier this year in an ODI against England. He went without a century for MI in IPL 2021 and couldn't make a mark for India neither in the Sri Lanka ODIs and T20Is, nor at the T20 World Cup.

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