Mumbai Indians on Friday released as many as 12 players ahead of the upcoming IPL auctions on December 19. Apart from Yuvraj Singh, who has already announced his retirement, the defending champions decided to off load overseas players like Evin Lewis, Adam Milne, Jason Behrendorff, Beuran Hendricks, Ben Cutting and Alzarri Joseph.

Speaking about the reasons behind the decision, Director of Cricket Operations at MI, Zaheer Khan, pointed out that the decision taken were based on fitness concerns of a lot of the players.

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“The core of the team is very stable and experienced so this year is going to be a different one. We have had some challenges in terms of injuries. Hardik Pandya to start with has had a back surgery. (Jasprit) Bumrah has been out of action with little bit of back issues and Jason Berehndoff also has had a back surgery. That was one of the concerns and the trades were reflection of exactly what was the planning for the upcoming season,” the former India paceman said. 

Zaheer, who played for Royal Challengers Bangalore, Mumbai Indians and Delhi Daredevils, also suggested that IPL’s most successful franchise is looking to strengthen their bowling department.

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“We felt that we will need some kind of strength around the bowling department and hence the trades with Delhi and RR,” the 2011 World Cup winner said.

“In terms of domestic talent as well, it has been trend with MI that we have been spotting and going with domestic talent. But this is going to be the end of the cycle as well. This is the third year the IPL dynamics in terms of big auctions work differently so there is going to be some more thinking in terms of what direction we should be going in, but its pretty pre-matured at this stage.

“The release list is out so we will have to keep an eye on which are players released from other teams and what are the options so yes that process should start very soon now,” Zaheer concluded.

Retained players: Rohit Sharma, Hardik Pandya, Jasprit Bumrah, Krunal Pandya, Ishan Kishan, Surya Kumar Yadav, Rahul Chahar, Anmolpreet Singh, Jayant Yadav, Aditya Tare, Anukul Roy, Dhawal Kulkarni (Traded in), Quinton de Kock, Kieron Pollard, Sherfane Rutherford (Traded in), Lasith Malinga, Mitchell McClenaghan, Trent Boult (Traded in).

Released players: Evin Lewis, Adam Milne, Jason Behrendorff, Beuran Hendricks, Ben Cutting, Yuvraj Singh, Mayank Markande (Traded out), Barinder Sran, Rasikh Salam, Pankaj Jaswal, Siddhesh Lad (Traded out), Alzarri Joseph.


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