Two-time IPL-winning Mumbai Indians head coach Mahela Jayawardene has reckoned that despite all the success that the franchise has got in the past, their drive to constantly improve amid different challenges is what keeps them going.
Jayawardene alluded to the last season where Mumbai Indians broke their barren run in UAE conditions and went on to clinch their fifth IPL title.
The former Sri Lankan skipper reckoned that every season brings with itself a unique set of challenges and it is the Mumbai Indians’ ability to accept it and go through the process to achieve desired results is what makes them a champion team.
“If we are not motivated to keep getting better, keep evolving and keep challenging ourselves, I think there is no point for us getting together as a group. We will keep challenging the players. In sport, there is always room for improvement. You can’t be complacent. Every year, we are thrown different challenges,” said Mahela Jayawardene in an exclusive interview with Hindustan Times.
“Playing the tournament in UAE was a challenge because that’s a place Mumbai Indians haven’t done well in the past. We had to adjust to all those conditions. This year as well, we don’t get to play at our home venue. That itself throws a different challenge to us. So we will adapt to all that. I think every season these are the challenges that motivate each and every individual in the group. We create those challenges and we try our best to go through those processes. As a group we try and keep it very simple. It’s all about competing on a daily basis and trying to do our best,” said Jayawardene.
One of the things that separate Mumbai Indians from other franchises is their ability to spot and nurture talents. When asked about the secret behind it, Jayawardene alluded it to pure hard work and the ability to spot talent and choosing the right time to invest in them.
The former cricketer cited the example of young South African left-arm pacer Marco Jansen to explain how the scouting team works.
”We have a group of individuals who work throughout the year, watching games, spotting players. Not only locally but we do have the same kind of network overseas as well. And it’s not just instant decision-making. Marco Jansen (South African left-arm pacer) is a classic example. We have monitored him for the last three years. Then he was a 17-18 year old. We kept monitoring him and picked him the same time he was picked for South Africa (Test squad for Pakistan in January),” said Jayawardene.
“I don’t think there are secrets to scouting. It’s just pure hard work and finding the right people who have the ability to pick talent. You have to trust their instincts and their hard work needs to be acknowledged. It’s a process. For me, it’s brilliant to have that input coming in, knowing that they are turning each and every stone to find this talent. We monitor them and when we decide we need to invest in them, we go ahead and do that,” he added.
Mumbai Indians will begin their title defense when they lock horns with the Virat Kohli-led Royal Challengers Bangalore at the M.A Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai on April 09.