Jayawardene reveals whether he thinks the Mumbai Indians can retain their IPL title

Mahela Jayawardene Mumbai Indians not favourites win Indian Premier League IPL cricket

Mahela Jayawardene: “We are defending champions but I do not see us as favourites, rather as equals to all the other teams this season”

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Mumbai Indians head coach Mahela Jayawardene has admitted that he doesn’t he his side as favourites going into this year’s Indian Premier League (IPL).

The Indians won the IPL last year and will begin their title defence against the returning Chennai Super Kings on Saturday at the Wankhede Stadium.

However, even though the franchise has triumphed three times in the last five seasons, Jayawardene pointed out that they have a long road ahead of them if they are to win the competition for the fourth time.

“The combination of many teams have changed after the auction,” he was quoted as saying by the Hindustan Times. “Franchises like Rajasthan Royals, Delhi Daredevils and Kings XI all have new players and a different look. We have to start from the scratch again and be better than others to win.

“We are defending champions but I do not see us as favourites, rather as equals to all the other teams this season.”

Jayawardene also admitted that he is excited to see the Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals back in the tournament, after they were banned for two years apiece due to leading figures in the two franchises being involved in corrupt activities.

“It is great to have the two teams back. They are part of IPL’s history, RR having won the first edition,” the former Sri Lanka batsman said. “Lot of familiar faces have gone into those teams as well. It will be a great challenge for us to play that first game against CSK.

“This is what IPL needs — that fan base and those rivalries are something special. Their return will certainly spice things up a little bit so it’s great.”

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