The possibility of losing Jasprit Bumrah for the entirety of the Indian Premier League (IPL) season has given Mumbai Indians the much-needed drive. Jofra Archer, an English fast bowler who has suffered from ailments recently, has been given the go-ahead to play the entire season.
This was confirmed to CricAdvisor on Wednesday by representatives of the IPL and the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) (March 1). According to an ECB source, “He should be able to play a full part in the IPL and as always, his franchisee and the ECB will monitor his workload,” while an IPL source chimed in, “Jofra is very much available; have you not seen him in action in the Dhaka ODI?”
How the workload is remotely managed by a home board has been a matter of debate among the franchise circles but as once reported by this website, the foreign boards insist on their players, mainly the fast bowlers, not to be used for a certain number of games at a stretch, the number of balls to be bowled in a net session and regular updates on their fitness.
Archer was part of the England ODI squad against Bangladesh in Dhaka on Wednesday when he finished with two for 37 in 10 overs. England are in Bangladesh for three ODIs and three T20Is, which run till March 14 and after that he could be travelling to India. He is expected to be available for the five-time champions and lead their attack from their first game, against Royal Challengers Bangalore at the Chinnaswamy Stadium on April 2.
Mumbai Indians had invested in Archer by buying him for Rs 8 crore in the 2022 mega auction despite knowing the Barbados-born English pacer will not be available for the season. They had planned to form a formidable pace combo of Bumrah and Archer in their arsenal. In a rather quirk of fate the franchise would be missing out on the services of Bumrah but their investment on Archer seems to be yielding returns.
Archer missed out on competitive cricket for close to 18 months — the second half of 2021 and almost full year of 2022. He played his first major competitive game for MI Cape Town, a fully owned subsidiary of the Mumbai Indians management, in the SA20 in January. He played five games in the tournament and played for England as well in the three-match ODI series against South Africa.
Meanwhile, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is yet to inform the MI management about Bumrah’s unavailability.