The Indian Premier League is back and all eight teams this season have already participated in a match or game at this point. The first match of the season kicked off on April 9 and it was between defending champions Mumbai Indians and Royal Challengers Bangalore.
Day 1 promises that this season will be exciting. Fans are just happy to have the IPL back in India even if the matches will still take place behind closed doors. People can just watch the live stream of the matches online and bet on IPL matches online.
Now, even if the current IPL season seems to be unbothered by the threat of the pandemic at the moment, there are still a few things that fans could miss. Aside from not seeing the matches live, some IPL players will not go on the field just yet because of certain circumstances like injuries and testing positive of the virus. Some are excused for the whole season, but some are hoping to return as soon as possible.
Rajasthan Royals’ Jofra Archer
Jofra Archer’s injury has nothing to do with the cricket matches he participated in. It was reported that in January, Archer had to undergo surgery to remove glass fragments from his hand caused by an accident involving a fish tank at his home.
However, even before this happened, Archer was already going through treatment for a long-term elbow injury. He has been taking cortisone injections to help him get through the five T20I series. The accident just added fuel to the fire and this is why Archer didn’t play on the first RR match this season.
RR’s team director Kumar Sangakkara shared that they are not rushing him to go back to the field just so he can fulfill his IPL contract. However, Sangakkara also shared that Archer’s issues tempted the franchise to consider their options even before this year’s auction took place in February.
They thought of terminating his £800,000 contract ahead of next year’s mega-auction. However, Archer’s pre-eminence as a T20 cricketer is what made the franchise decide to just give him the time that he needs to recover.
“It was a tough decision. The injury concern was flagged up going into the auction but he was playing excellently for England. So, the chances of him playing in the IPL from the start and being managed by the experts were realistic. But we have contingency plans in place now and no risks will be taken.
“It’s such an important part of the current complex circumstances – of living in a bubble, training there, and not having access to your regular support structures and families. Keeping your players relaxed, interested, calm, and happy is something that every franchise takes very seriously,” Sangakkara explained.
He and the whole franchise remains hopeful about his availability and said, “We are certainly hoping that he will be available for some part of the IPL. Not having him at the start is a big blow for us, because a lot of our planning is centered around his availability, and such last-minute injury concerns do affect any side, especially if it’s a player of the quality of Jofra.
“But it’s very important that Jofra gets fit, not just for the IPL, but importantly for his international career. He needs to be in a very good space with his body, and mentally, when he does come here, so we’re all waiting to see how the assessment goes. And once the assessment is done, we’ll know more.”
Sangakkara also expressed how they value Archer as their player and his achievements. He said, “We have to be concerned about him as a player because his career is long-term and is not restricted to just one season and the IPL.
“His value to world cricket and England cricket is part of our decision and we will be guided by the experts in English cricket who look after Jofra. It’s not something we look at selfishly and we take a holistic view of how important Jofra is.”
Mumbai Indian’s Hardik Pandya
Mumbai Indians lost their first match this season against Royal Challengers Bangalore. The defending champions lost by two wickets and Hardik Pandya is currently dealing with a shoulder problem that hindered him from taking the ball.
Pandya had to go through back surgery in September 2019. He got an injury when he bowled with aplomb during India’s T20 series win against England.
Mumbai India’s director spoke about Pandya and said, “Hardik, as a whole package, is always of great value. It was a workload-related thing in the previous game. He bowled nine overs in the England series. In consultation with the physio, we had to take that approach. There was a little bit of a shoulder concern but it is not worrisome. You will see him bowl very soon. The timeline you will have to ask the physio. In terms of Hardik the bowler coming in this tournament, we are confident that he will be chipping in with the ball in his hand as well.”