Ben Cutting: The answer to Mumbai Indians’ middle order conundrum
If you look at Ben Cutting statistically, you will see that he does not have the numbers to show his capabilities as an all-rounder. He has played 18 IPL games and has scored only 220 runs and taken 9 wickets. It does not paint a pretty picture considering the fact that he is an all-rounder and capable of getting better numbers than he has to show, especially for Mumbai Indians.
However, a part of the statistics mentioned above can be misleading. While the pundits may cast their doubts regarding how Cutting can be a liability, they may tend to miss out on the strike rate of 177.41 which surely makes him a dangerous player in the shortest format of the game.
Ben Cutting who started his IPL career with Rajasthan Royals has played for Sunrisers Hyderabad before he was picked by Mumbai Indians in the 2018 auctions. He was expected to bring a lot to the table but unfortunately did not make any vital contribution.
How can Cutting contribute to MI’s middle order?
Cutting alone cannot be blamed for his lack of returns for Mumbai Indians last season. There were various factors which went against him partly due to management decisions taken by Mumbai Indians which did not allow Cutting to show his capabilities. Mumbai Indians have a good team this season and they can surely utilize Cutting’s talent to strengthen their batting.
One of the mistakes that Mumbai Indians made initially was to try accommodating both Kieron Pollard and Ben Cutting in their line-up. This did not help as Pollard would more often than not come ahead of Cutting, due to which the Australian all-rounder would not get enough chances to show his skills as a batsman. Mumbai Indians were never short of bowling resources and hence Cutting was never required to bowl his full quota. The other times Cutting had to sit out was because Mumbai Indians looked to strengthen their bowling attack and preferred Pollard over Cutting which meant that the Aussie went down the pecking order.
Mumbai Indians certainly looks a better team than last year. They have players which make their batting and bowling look stronger than ever and the three-time IPL winners can certainly strengthen their middle-order by including Ben Cutting into the lineup.
This season with Rohit Sharma set to take the role of an opener, Mumbai Indians will have to decide whether they would like to go with Evin Lewis, Quinton De Kock, or Suryakumar Yadav as one of the partners for Sharma. While Yadav is capable of playing in the top 4, Rohit Sharma would prefer Evin Lewis to partner him with Ishan Kishan donning the big gloves. This clearly means that Mumbai Indians can accommodate Ben Cutting if they prefer Adam Milne and Mitchell McClenaghan as the other overseas players.
Mumbai Indians need to work him in…
The inclusion of Ben Cutting over Kieron Pollard will be a better option. It is clear that Pollard’s power has waned over a period of time and he is not able to produce the goods on a consistent basis. He is more of a liability as a bowler and despite his fielding still being good, his abilities to win matches has dwindled. Ben Cutting, on the other hand, can easily float around the middle order with the aim of increasing the run rate and getting quick runs.
A middle order with Cutting and Pandya brothers to follow, one can expect Mumbai Indians to not only post 170 plus totals but also chase down big scores as well. Cutting as a batsman is dangerous and nobody should forget his 15 balls 39 runs in the 2016 IPL finals for SRH which ultimately earned him the man of the match. Cutting had also scored 20 balls 37 runs in the last match of the 2018 season against then Delhi Daredevils which had brought MI to 11 runs of qualifying for the playoffs. Apart from that, he can also bowl a few overs at a sharp pace which ensures that Rohit Sharma is never short of bowling resources. His fielding is top-notch which makes him an important player.
Mumbai Indians will have to pick Ben Cutting over Pollard in most of the games and give more chances to the Australian. The presence of Cutting makes the MI middle order not only more dangerous but also allows Rohit Sharma to have multiple bowling options. The inclusion of Cutting balances the team and with MI looking to win their fourth IPL title, they will have to utilize Cutting in a better manner in order to see their dream of lifting the IPL trophy come true again.