Archer joins SA20: What does it mean for Mumbai Indians?
Mumbai Indians would breathe a sigh of relief as Jofra Archer is back to the field. The pacer, who has been out of action due to fitness issues, played for England Lions against the national team in a warm-up game in Abu Dhabi. Archer has also been signed by MI Cape Town for the inaugural SA T20 League as a wildcard player. Here's more.
Why does this story matter?
- Archer hasn't played international cricket since England's T20I series against India in March 2021.
- Multiple injuries have kept him out of action since then.
- He missed the last two Indian Premier League (IPL) seasons as well.
- The warm-up game, ahead of England's Test tour of Pakistan, marked his comeback to the 22 yards.
- He'll play for MI's South African subsidiary in SA20 next year.
Jofra Archer to play for MI Cape Town
MI, who own the Cape Town team in the SA20, have roped in Archer as a wildcard signing. The franchise announced the same on Wednesday (November 23). The inaugural edition of the tournament will be held from January 10 to February 11. The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has given Archer the NOC to participate in the league.
Timeline of Archer's injuries
Archer missed IPL 2021 as he suffered a freak injury while clearing a fish tank. While he played some games for Sussex in May and July 2021, he didn't look at full tilt. The pacer subsequently underwent surgery on his right elbow. In May 2022, ECB stated that Archer has suffered a stress back fracture and will miss the entire summer.
How Archer fared in the practice game?
Archer opened the bowling for England Lions during the three-day practice game against the national side. As per Telegraph.co.uk, Archer bowled nine overs, and returned with figures of 9-1-38-0. Although the speedster failed to pick up a wicket, he bowled at a good pace. Archer even struck Zak Crawley on the helmet with a fiery bouncer. These are good signs for Team England as well.
MI invested big in Archer
MI bought Archer for a whopping Rs. 8 crore in the IPL 2022 mega auction despite knowing that the pacer would miss the entire season. The move was highly criticized as the five-time champions finished last (10th) in the league stage. However, MI have retained Archer and the pacer would be determined to justify their decision. Archer would make his MI debut in 2023.
Archer's numbers in T20 cricket
The 27-year-old pacer has scalped 153 wickets in 121 T20s (ER: 7.65). Archer, who is also a handy lower-order batter, has also scored 551 runs at a strike rate of 147.72. Making his IPL debut in 2018, Archer has played 35 games so far, all for Rajasthan Royals (RR). Besides scalping 46 wickets, the dasher scored 195 runs at a strike rate of 157.26.
MVP in IPL 2020
Though Rajasthan Royals finished last in the league stage in IPL 2020, Archer was named the Most Valuable Player of the tournament. He scalped 20 wickets in 14 games (ER: 6.55). The swashbuckler also played some brilliant cameos, striking at 179.36.
Will MI pose the most threatening pace attack?
Besides Archer, MI also have the services of Jason Behrendorff and Jasprit Bumrah in the fast-bowling department. As the trio can form a formidable pace attack, opposition teams must beware. While Arjun Tendulkar and Arshad Khan are the other fast-bowling option in the squad, the franchise might buy some back-ups in the auction event. The mini-auction will reportedly take place on December 23.
How the franchise would approach the auction
MI's batting lineup seems pretty clear so far. Rohit Sharma, Ishan Kishan, Suryakumar Yadav, Tilak Varma, Dewald Brevis, and Tim David would form the top six. As the side also has three world-class pacers, they must go after all-rounders. Spin-bowling all-rounders should be on their radar. Notably, MI would play half of their league matches at Wankhede Stadium, where boundaries are on the shorter side.
Players, they can target
Fast-bowling all-rounders like Ben Stokes, Sam Curran, Cameron Green, Jason Holder, and Chamika Karunaratne can be on MI's radar. As Green and Stokes can bat in the top six, they would be prioritized. However, the aforementioned players are likely to ignite a bidding war. In the spin-bowling department, the franchise would like to get Jagadeesha Suchith and Murugan Ashwin at a bargain.
List of retained MI players ahead of IPL 2023 auction
Retained MI Players: Rohit Sharma (Captain), Tim David, Ramandeep Singh, Tilak Varma, Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan, Tristan Stubbs, Dewald Brevis, Jofra Archer, Jasprit Bumrah, Arjun Tendulkar, Arshad Khan, Kumar Kartikeya, Hrithik Shokeen, Jason Behrendorff, Akash Madhwal