Here’s why Mumbai Indians were allowed to field five foreigners instead of four in 2011

The Indian Premier League (IPL) started way back in 2008 and since then, has become one of the best leagues ever in franchise cricket. The IPL has seen a lot of changes during its glorious 14-year journey but one thing has remained constant- Only four foreign players allowed in the squad of 11 members for each of the eight franchises. Talks to change this rule have been going for quite some time but there is no official word yet on the rule change.

Five-time IPL Champions Mumbai Indians though pulled off this feat during the 2011 now-defunct Champions league. This had happened because of various injuries to a number of their Indian players such as Sachin Tendulkar (injured toe), Rohit Sharma (finger injury) and Munaf Patel (ruled out before the tournament started). The rest of the squad players too, such as Aditya Tare, Pawan Suyal, Ali Murtaza, Dhawal Kulkarni and Suryakumar Yadav were ruled out just before the Champions League T20 began.

A staggering amount of eight players out of 23, were thus injured and unavailable and hence Mumbai Indians had to field five foreigners in all of their Champions League matches. The Governing Council later approved the side be allowed to play five overseas players in the edition to ensure the “integrity of the tournament,” as reported in Wisden

When the four foreign players rule in IPL was tweaked for Mumbai Indians

“The CLT20 governing council has approved a recommendation by the technical committee that to ensure the integrity of the tournament the Mumbai Indians will be permitted to select up to five overseas players in any one team, provided those players were contracted to play in the 2011 IPL,” the CLT20 technical committee stated.

Mumbai Indians, who were led by Harbhajan Singh, thus became the first IPL team to play five foreign players in Champions League in 2011.

In their first game of the tournament, Mumbai played Chennai Super Kings and named Davy Jacobs, Aiden Blizzard, Andrew Symonds, Kieron Pollard along with Lasith Malinga in their XI. Mumbai Indians went onto benefit from this rule as they had a phenomenal run in the tournament and ended up as champions, beating the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) to bag a major trophy before they went on to win their first IPL trophy in 2013.