Calcutta/New Delhi: With Lasith Malinga ruling himself out of the Champions League Twenty20 (CLT20) due to family reasons, Mumbai Indians would “badly miss” the services of their frontline bowler, feels Rohit Sharma.
“Lasith’s absence will definitely be felt as he is an integral part of our team. He is a great bowler and on his day, he can destroy any opposition’s batting line-up.
“It’s a big loss for us and we will miss him. However, Mitchell Johnson will soon be joining us,” Rohit said on Thursday.
Having impressed while opening the innings in India colours in the shorter format, Rohit has his focus on replicating the success of IPL-VI while leading the star-studded side in CLT20.
“That’s exactly the goal — to lift the trophy — and our preparations are heading in the right direction. But it’s not going to be easy this time around with world’s best teams competing in the tournament.
“It will be a new challenge for me. I would like to repeat my performance as a captain, but it’s a tough tournament, no doubt,” he added.
Mumbai Indians will begin their conditioning camp for CLT20 from Friday at the Motera, Ahmedabad. Following the five-day camp, the team — placed in Group A — will travel to Jaipur for the tournament opener against Rajasthan Royals on September 21.
They will return to the Motera for their two home matches on September 23 (against a qualifier) and 27 (against South Africa’s Highveld Lions). Their last match in the group stage is on October 2 against Perth Scorchers at the Ferozeshah Kotla.
“Mumbai Indians had a great season this IPL as we emerged victorious. We are looking forward to begin our CLT20 campaign from where we had left off (in the IPL),” said team mentor Anil Kumble.