With Champions League T20 gone and the September window wide open for Indian cricket, Mumbai Indians have been planning to play three exhibition matches with associate countries in the United States of America after India’s tour of West Indies. It’s been few years that BCCI had given green signal to a proposal where IPL franchises were allowed to play a limited number of friendly fixtures in ICC Associate and Affiliate countries between June and August.
India will be touring West Indies for four tests match series starting from July 21 to August 22. A top BCCI official has recently revealed that Mumbai Indians have requested them for a US trip unofficially and that once all their planning is done, they will formally inform BCCI about it.
Mumbai Indians failed to qualify for IPL playoffs this season. They were not at their best in the ninth edition of the Indian Premier League. Despite multiple openings, Rohit Sharma’s side failed to live up to the expectations.
The defending champions’ campaign ended in much disappointment as they failed to finish in the top-four for the first time in seven years. Injuries did play a crucial part in their exit before the playoffs, but inconsistency had a larger impact in how things panned out for the two-time champions, who finished fifth after losing their last game to Gujarat Lions. A positive result against the table-toppers could have made Mumbai’s story a lot different, but, as it turned out, the Rohit Sharma-led side’s shortcomings, mostly with the bat, had the final say.
“The BCCI allows franchises to play three games with associate countries. It builds a fan base outside India. IPL has grown big over the years and we have not only followers in India but abroad too. The recent reports have clearly stated that fastest growing league in the world is IPL. There is no harm if any franchise plays outside India,” a top BCCI official revealed.
With BCCI scrapping Champions League last year, the franchises had to rely on the only IPL to keep a hold on their fan base. The fact is that the more matches a team plays, the longer franchise can hold the interest among the fans. And this looks to be a win-win situation for Mumbai Indians.
It would be very interesting to see how this unique experiment works out and whether other franchises too would follow in the footsteps of the two-time champions.