Head coach Mark Boucher says Mumbai Indians will look for replacement of front-line bowlers if they are not fit within time, as the five-time winner managed to reach the Playoffs despite missing first-team bowlers Jasprit Bumrah, Jofra Archer and Jhye Richardson this season.
In a season wherein Mumbai Indians became the first team to concede four totals above 200 on the trot, the batting unit carried it until the Eliminator clash, where it suffered a big loss at the hands of Gujarat Titans.
Mumbai Indians had to cope with the absence of Bumrah for the entire season due to stress fracture in his lower back followed by a surgery in New Zealand. Australian pacer Richardson also failed to make it to India, being ruled out with a hamstring injury.
With an eye on the 2023 season, Archer was picked up by MI in the IPL 2022 auction despite knowing the bowler was out for more than a year due to an elbow injury.
In May 2022, Archer was diagnosed with a lower-back stress fracture, which had ruled him out of the English summer. While Archer did turn up for MI Cape Town in the inaugural SA20 and eventually for England, he looked far from being fully fit in the IPL.
Having missed the first home game at Wankhede against arch rival Chennai Super Kings, Archer, struggling for rhythm and form, got just two wickets in five games this IPL.
In between, Archer also travelled to Belgium for a minor surgery and returned to action, but only to be ruled out again.
A recurrence of the elbow trouble led to his exit not only from this IPL but also from the all-important Ashes against Australia, and it remains to be seen if Archer would be fit in time to make it to England’s squad for World Cup title defence later this year in India.
Boucher said an assessment of the situation would be made at a later stage. “There are so many things that we can talk about, but for me, to open up a can of worms now, would be stupid,” Boucher told the media.
“I think it’s time to just sit back, reflect a bit, take the emotion out of it, and make some good, sound cricketing decisions once everything is calmed down and once we understand the future of certain individuals and where they are from a fitness perspective (sic),” he said.
“You lose two of your stars in the bowling line-up, it’s going to create a couple of holes, and we tried to fix it up as best as possible. Hopefully the guys can get over the injuries. If they can’t, then we’ve got to look other places,” he said.
Boucher said it was ‘difficult’ for MI without both Bumrah and Archer.
“You can look at Bumrah not being available, Jofra not being available, they are quality players. If you are losing out on your quality players, yes, it’s going to leave a hole. Not to put any blame on anyone, those things happen in sports, injuries happen in sports, and you’ve got to deal with it,” he said.