Mark Boucher, who begins his new stint as the Mumbai Indians head coach in this edition of the Indian Premier League, believes the team’s bowling is ‘always going to be a little bit of a surprise package’.
India and MI fast bowler Jasprit Bumrah will miss IPL 2023 after undergoing back surgery in New Zealand. Jofra Archer, returning from a long injury lay-off, is likely to lead the attack in the absence of Bumrah. Boucher said Archer would be monitored during the practice game before taking a call on the future course of action. “One of the things about the international players is that they need the freedom to move around a bit. All of them have been playing cricket. Jofra is coming off a major injury; he has been playing quite a bit of cricket lately, which is good. He’s in a good space. He’s ready to get up there and perform, which is a good place to be in. We will see tonight how he goes.”
Boucher believes Bumrah’s absence is an opportunity for the youngsters to step up. “Our bowling attack is quite exciting. Losing Bumrah has been a big loss for us. I will be honest with that. When you lose players, you sometimes get opportunities,” Boucher said on Wednesday. “The way the Mumbai Indians have selected their squads over the last few years is that - you select your playing eleven, your back-up eleven, and then you invest in a couple of youngsters for the future. It’s time for those youngsters to show up and get the opportunity.”
MI also has pacers Jason Behrendorff and Duan Jansen in its ranks. The presence of Australian all-rounder Cameron Green could also come in handy. But Boucher believes youngsters like Hrithik Shokeen and Kumar Kartikeya should take the onus and deliver.
“For me, the big thing for the bowling line-up is that we have got experience, but we have one or two spaces for the youngsters to come through and showcase their skills. I am looking forward to seeing them. The IPL is a massive event and a great opportunity for a couple of our young boys to show up. We got experience in the spinners in Piyush (Chawla), we have got a couple of youngsters in Kumar (Kartikeya) and Shokeen. It’s going to be interesting to see how they operate this season,” Boucher said.
“We have got some great variation in our bowling attack. Our batting is very, very strong, so I am looking forward to how they operate. I want them to put their efforts together to win the trophy.”
Bumrah’s replacement to be named soon
MI captain Rohit Sharma stated that the franchise is discussing a few names as a replacement for Bumrah and will finalise in a day or two. “Yes, we have been discussing a few options, and hopefully, we can close it in the next couple of days and let you know about it,” Rohit said.
Bumrah hasn’t played any form of cricket since October last year. He, however, attended the Women’s Premier League final on Sunday and was seen discussing a few things with his Mumbai Indians teammates.