IPL 2022: Mumbai Indians Coach Mahela Jayawardene Admits Injured Jofra Archer’s Absence Is Hurting Team

Mumbai Indians bought Jofra Archer for Rs 8 crore in the IPL 2022 mega Auctions despite knowing that the English pacer won’t be available in the ongoing season.

Jofra Archer's last played international in 2021 against India in a T20.

Mumbai Indians head coach Mahela Jayawardene has admitted that injured Jofra Archer’s absence is hurting the team as the bowling unit has not been able to sustain the pressure. MI on Wednesday suffered a 12-run loss at the hands of Punjab Kings – their fifth successive defeat – to inch closer to elimination.

Mumbai Indians bought Jofra Archer in the mega auction in February for a whopping Rs 8 crore, despite knowing the English pacer isn’t fully fit and won’t be available for the current season. Archer is expected to be fit by the 2023 season.

“...obviously, one of the best bowlers that we’ve bought in the auction is Jof (Jofra Archer) – Jof is not here. So, it is tough when you are in that kind of situation, but we are trying to see how best we can manage,” Jayawardene said after their loss against Punjab Kings on Wednesday.   

Despite having some of the biggest names in their bowling line-up, only two Mumbai Indians bowlers feature in the top 20 of the most wicket-takers list. Their premier fast bowler for several seasons, Jasprit Bumrah has been off-colour too. Bumrah, in five games, has picked up just four wickets.

“In terms of the last four-five games, we've had some really good spells, we controlled things for a while. But we cannot hold that pressure going on, because in certain times, it's either two or three overs that we go big and that has hurt us.

Against Punjab, both Basil Thampi and Jaydev Unadkat went for an excess of 40 runs while Tymal Mills and Murugan Ashwin, too leaked more than eight runs per over. “So that's something that we really have to nail down and make sure that our execution is better in those situations,” added the former Sri Lankan captain.

Meanwhile, Jayawardene defended his skipper Rohit Sharma stating it’s just a ‘matter of time’ before he plays a big knock, something which his team desperately needs to arrest its slide in the ongoing IPL 2022.

The MI captain has failed to capitalise on the starts, managing just 108 runs at an average of 21.60 this season. “If you look at the way he starts, the way he hits the ball, it's brilliant. He's timing it, he's getting some really, really good starts.

“Yes, he's disappointed as well, that he's not being able to convert them,” Jayawardene said. We've seen Rohit batting deep, batting for 14-15 overs and getting those big scores. It's just a matter of time. He's a quality player and I am not concerned about the form as such.”

Chasing 199, Rohit (28) and Ishan Kishan (3) got out cheaply as Mumbai Indians were found struggling at 32 for 2 in 4.1 overs. Young Dewald Brevis (49 off 25) and Tilak Varma (36 off 20) added 84 runs for the third wicket.

MI decided to hold back Suryakumar Yadav, who came out to bat at number five, instead of his usual position at four. Suryakumar made 43 off 30 balls before being dismissed in the 19th over. “Today was to try and take the game deep, because we were playing with six batters.

“And there's no better person than Surya to finish a game off,” Jayawardene said. “In the powerplay, they would swing the ball a bit and all that. So I didn't want Surya to go into that situation and not be able to play his natural game also. It was just a tactical thing.”

With PTI Inputs