– . . 1Ending speculations over his participation in the 14th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL), the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) confirmed on Friday (April 23) that Rajasthan Royals (RR) spearhead Jofra Archer will miss the tournament in its entirety.
The ECB confirmed that Jofra Archer had to undergo surgery on his middle finger after returning from India to the UK just ahead of IPL 2021. The board further stated that the England and RR quick has only just returned to “bowling this week with higher intensity”. The ECB’s, as well as the medical team of Archer’s county club Sussex, will be monitoring his progress.
“Archer will now step up his training regime starting next week and will be in full training with Sussex. It is expected that he will return to cricket in the next fortnight if he can continue to bowl and prepare pain-free,” the ECB release states additionally.
Jofra Archer was RR’s biggest positive in their otherwise disappointing IPL 2020 campaign in UAE. The tall right-arm quick bagged 20 wickets from 14 games in traditionally spin-friendly conditions while conceding just 6.55 runs per over. He even scored useful runs lower down the order. Archer’s fantastic season, however, couldn’t save RR from finishing eighth in the points table.
Both RR and Jofra Archer mutually decided that it would be best if the paceman goes through his entire rehabilitation process in the UK only, as he would’ve had to serve a mandatory seven-day quarantine period if he arrived in India. The isolation would’ve eaten into a significant period that Jofra Archer could’ve spent in training and regaining bowling fitness in normal times.
It isn’t yet confirmed when Jofra Archer will be able to get back on the park. The ECB is hoping that he will play a second XI match in the next fortnight, which will aid the assessment of his injury. If Archer progresses well, he will be allowed to play for Sussex in the County Championship from mid of May.
Few Potential replacements for Jofra Archer
In absence of Jofra Archer, RR have had Chris Morris and Mustafizur Rahman handling the responsibility in the overseas fast-bowling category, with Andre Tye playing back-up.
However, if the inaugural season champions do decide to seek a replacement from outside the squad, there is no shortage of competent bowlers across the globe who can come in and make an immediate impact. And so below are some of the names which RR can look at while seeking Jofra Archer’s replacements.
1. Billy Stanlake
Australian right-arm quick Stanlake, who was with Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) until last year, went through the IPL 2021 auction in February without finding any bidder.
While SRH couldn’t fit Stanlake into their best XI or squad, RR could look at him as an option for Jofra Archer, who can prove effective in nailing the hard lengths with his pace and hostility.
Stanlake has featured in 6 IPL games previously with 7 wickets while going for 8.33 runs per over. The 26-year-old has featured in 76 games in his overall T20 career with 81 wickets and an economy rate of 8.01.
2. Nathan Ellis
Ellis is an uncapped right-arm speedster from Australia and could be one of the potential replacements for Jofra Archer. Featuring in the Big Bash League (BBL) for Hobart Hurricanes, Ellis has played 31 games in his overall T20 career with 33 wickets and an economy rate of 8.16.
In the most recent edition of the BBL, Ellis bagged 20 wickets from his 14 innings while going for 8.31 runs per over. The 26-year-old, who went unsold at the IPL 2021 auction, was precise with the execution of yorkers on his day and can prove a valuable addition to the RR set-up.
If they spread the net wider for Jofra Archer’s replacement, RR could look at Afghanistan right-arm pacer Naveen-ul-Haq as well. The 21-year-old young quick has made a fantastic start to his T20I career for the Afghans and boasts of a fine overall record in T20 cricket.
In 53 T20s, Naveen-ul-Haq has taken 58 wickets and has had an economy rate of 7.45. His record in early days at the international stage is even better: 13 scalps from 8 T20Is, with an economy rate of just 6.96.
While Naveen has never previously played at a level of IPL’s competitiveness consistently, RR can still back the youngster to produce the goods.