(Image: BCCI, iplt20.com)
Workload management of pacer Jasprit Bumrah and all-rounder Hardik Pandya will be the main focus when Mumbai Indians (MI) take on a rechristened Delhi Capitals in their first match of the 12th Indian Premier League at Wankhade Stadium in Mumbai on March 24.
Pandya has had two breakdowns in the last six months. A recurring back-injury first ruled him out of the Asia Cup in last September before missing the home series against Australia.
READ: Rohit, Zaheer tell players to 'listen' to their bodies to manage workload
Even former India pacer Zaheer Khan, who is Mumbai Indians' Director of Cricket, felt Pandya's workload should be monitored since he has had recurring lower back injuries.
"He (Hardik) has to be monitored. He's in consultation with the team of support staff. Everything is under control," Zaheer had said earlier this week.
Mumbai Indians skipper Rohit Sharma too feels that with the World Cup round the corner, the onus is on individuals to manage their workload in the IPL.
"We have been on the road for last three or four years. We have played a lot of back-to-back cricket. It depends on individuals. You should always listen to your body," Rohit had said.
Bumrah is another player who will be closely monitored by the Indian team management in the IPL.
Also it would be interesting to see how Mumbai Indians' manage Bumrah's workload, especially after veteran Sri Lankan speedster Lasith Malinga will miss the first six games for the franchise.
Elsewhere, Rohit's performance will also be keenly observed as he is expected to open in the World Cup.
Besides, the three-time IPL winners have added legendary Yuvraj Singh to their squad, which already has a few big-hitters in Kieron Pollard, Ben Cutting, Suryakumar Yadav to name a few.
On the pace front, Barinder Sran, Mitchell McClenaghan can be considered, while Krunal Pandya, Jayant Yadav, Anukul Roy, Rahul Chahar and rising star Mayank Markande provide Mumbai ample spin options.
Delhi Capitals, who have changed their name from Delhi Daredevils, have Shikhar Dhawan in their armoury and the lefty-hander would be keen to get runs in the before the World Cup.
Also a good outing for young players like Shreyas Iyer and stumper Rishabh Pant will bolster their World Cup chances.
Delhi also boasts of Prithvi Shaw, Manjot Karla and experienced campaigners like Colin Munro and Chris Morris, who can give stability to the team.
With the likes of Trent Boult, Ishant Sharma, Kasigo Rabada and Nathu Singh on board, Delhi's bowling attack looks a potent force.
Mumbai Indians: Rohit Sharma, Jason Behrendorff, Jasprit Bumrah, Rahul Chahar, Ben Cutting, Pankaj Jaiswal, Ishan Kishan (wicket-keeper), Siddhesh Lad, Evin Lewis, Lasith Malinga, Mayank Markande, Mitchell McClenaghan, Adam Milne, Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Kieron Pollard, Anukul Roy, Rasikh Salam, Yuvraj Singh, Anmolpreet Singh, Barinder Sran, Aditya Tare, Suryakumar Yadav, Jayant Yadav and Quinton de Kock (wicket-keeper).
Delhi Capitals: Colin Ingram, Manjot Karla, Prithvi Shaw, Sherfane Rutherford, Shikhar Dhawan, Shreyas Iyer, Amit Mishra, Avesh Khan, Bandaru Ayyappa, Harshal Patel, Ishant Sharma, Kasigo Rabada, Nathu Singh, Sandeep Lamichhane, Trent Boult, Axar Patel, Chris Morris, Colin Munro, Hanuma Vihari, Jalaj Saxena, Keemo Paul, Rahul Tewatia, Ankush Bains and Rishabh Pant.Match starts at 8 pm.