Ahead of IPL 2023, Mumbai Indians skipper Rohit Sharma said on Wednesday that a replacement for injured pacer Jasprit Bumrah will be decided by the team in the next few days. Bumrah has been out of action since September 2022 due to a recurring back injury and underwent surgery earlier this month.
Bumrah injury a massive blow
It will be the first time in a decade that Bumrah will not be a part of the IPL.
"Regarding Bumrah's replacement, we've been discussing a few options. Hopefully, we can close it down in the next couple of days, and then we will see how we will go about it," Rohit said in the pre-season press conference.
"We have been talking about Bumrah. He is a big miss. Jasprit Bumrah's role was quite important for Mumbai Indians, it's a big shoe to fill. But it gives someone else an opportunity for the youngsters in the team to showcase their talent. We have a couple of guys who have been with this team for the last few years. They are very much ready to take the centrestage and hopefully can blood in some youngsters," he added.
Jofra's return a sigh of relief
Without Bumrah and Jhye Richardson, Mumbai's fast-bowling stocks are thin. But the presence of England pacer Jofra Archer is something that has delighted Rohit.
Archer missed last year's season due to elbow and back injuries.
"Jofra was always part of this team. Last year, he was, but he was injured. We all know the quality he has. But we will sadly miss Bumrah this season. But again, a lot of opportunities are up for grabs, and if someone's missing out, then someone can fill in that place," Mumbai Indians skipper said.
"We do understand how big of a miss Bumrah is, but a lot of younger players will get their opportunity, and this is the platform for all the young players to come out and express themselves," he added.
Chance for youngsters to grab opportunity
Mark Boucher, the head coach of Mumbai, is hopeful that Archer and young bowlers in the side will shine in Bumrah's absence.
"Our bowling attack is quite exciting for me. I would say, it's an unknown quantity. Losing Bumrah is a big blow for us; I will be honest with that. But losing a player means sometimes you get opportunities. But the way the side has picked players in the last few years is to have a couple of players who can be back-ups and be the ones for the future," Boucher said.
"Now is the time for those youngsters to show up and grab their opportunities. For me, from a bowling point of view for this IPL season is, you have got the experience and you have got the juniors to really show their skills. Jofra's been playing recently. Hopefully he can kick-start the IPL with a bang," he added.
ArjunTendulkar's long-awaited debut
Amongst the young bowlers, there is left-arm pace all-rounder Arjun Tendulkar, who has yet to play in the IPL.
"Arjun Tendulkar is playing good cricket in recent times. He was injured, but today he will start bowling," said Rohit about him.
Boucher, too, agreed with Rohit's views. "Arjun has been playing good cricket for some time, he is bowling well, and we are thinking that he will play in the playing XI this year."
Mumbai Indians, the five-time IPL champions, will open their IPL 2023 campaign against Royal Challengers Bangalore at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru on April 2.
(To receive our E-paper on WhatsApp daily, please click here. To receive it on Telegram, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)