As the deadline for player retention comes to an end, reports in the media have it that five-time Indian Premier League (IPL) champions Mumbai Indians are planning to release senior West Indies cricketer Kieron Pollard ahead of the next season.IPL franchises have one more day to finalise their squad for the next season as they will have to submit the final list of retained players by Tuesday.

IPL franchises have one more day to finalise their squad for the next season as they will have to submit the final list of retained players by Tuesday (November 15).

The 16th edition of the cash-rich league will see all ten participating teams undergo preparations in full swing in order to make their squad as ready as possible before the mini-auction on December 23 in Kochi.

While there are some franchises who have already traded players, it will be interesting to see if the teams retain some of the old names which have been in the squad for years. Moreover, each team has been granted an increase in their spending power with a sum of Rs 5 crore being added to their purse. This will increase their value to Rs 95 crore for the mini-auction.

Former India spinner Harbhajan Singh believes releasing Pollard – who has been a part of the franchise for more than a decade – will not be an easy decision.

Speaking on Star Sports show ‘Game Plan – IPL Retention Special’, Harbhajan – when asked whether MI should retain Pollard – said, “Well, I think it’s going to be very difficult for Mumbai Indians to release Kieron Pollard. He’s been there for many years. But yes, there are times when you have to take a few tough calls and maybe this is the time.

Mumbai Indians won IPL 2020 in the UAE

“They have to move forward and make a team for the next 4-5 years and try to find someone who can do what Pollard has done over the years.”

Harbhajan – who represented Mumbai Indians for ten seasons – said the franchise has someone like Tim David – who is a like-for-like replacement for Pollard – and then there will be Australia all-rounder Cameron Green up for grabs in the auction.

“Yes, they have Tim David, who can do a similar sort of job and of course, there is another Australian in the auction that is Cameroon Green. I think they will be eyeing him to be part of the Mumbai setup. Of course, it’s going to be a tough call, but at some stage, you have to take those calls.”

‘MI should go after Cameron Green’

Former Team India pacer Irfan Pathan, meanwhile, highlighted a major chink in MI’s bowling armour and suggested the franchise should look for a death bowler who can shoulder some responsibility with Jasprit Bumrah.

Speaking about what strategy the Mumbai-based franchise will deploy if England pacer Jofra Archer isn’t available for selection again, the Turbanator said, “I think they still need to look for a death bowler. It’s very important because Jofra Archer’s coming back from injury. Jasprit Bumrah is also coming back from injury. Last year, what I felt from their bowling department, with Jofra not being there, they really did not have that sharpness in their bowling, especially in the death overs.

“They kept going with Basil Thampi and Jaydev Unadkat as well, so definitely, even if Jofra and Jasprit Bumrah come back, they still need someone at the back end at least for the sake of a replacement. If something goes wrong between Bumrah and Archer, they need someone who can bowl at the death. So, I really think they’ll be looking at that as well.”