Chock full of very well-paid if superannuated superstars—Ricky Ponting, Sachin Tendulkar, Harbhajan Singh, Lasith Malinga—the Mumbai Indians are the New York Yankees of the IPL. Deep pockets and the biggest media market in India can’t buy you success, and the Mumbai Indians are far from certain to make the IPL finals. Their failure to launch is not for want of records on paper. When Ponting and Tendulkar came out to bat as number one and two in the order, they were replicating their status as the two greatest runscorers in Test history (combined aggregate: 29,215 runs) and One-Day Internationals (combined aggregate: 32,130). Unfortunately, their aggregate age is 78 (tomorrow, when Sachin turns 40, it’ll be 79), and it’s showing.
Ponting just isn’t cut out for Twenty20, and he knows it. The IPL is just a chance to make a pot of money and eke out a few more years on the world stage—like his erstwhile Australian teammates Adam Gilchrist and Brad Hodge. Tendulkar, however, has had some success in this format, but he’s also slowing down, and his performances have not been great. I hope, for all our sakes, he doesn’t fade any further.