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IPL 2023: With No Bumrah and Jhye Richardson, how will Mumbai’s bowling combination work?

IPL 2023: With No Jasprit Bumrah and Jhye Richardson, how will Mumbai Indians’ bowling combination work? Players Mumbai Indians might target as replacement.

IPL 2022, DC vs MI, Top Performances_ Jasprit Bumrah's 3-25 helps MI beat DC, RCB through to playoffs _ Walking Wicket (Images ©IPL/Twitter)
Jasprit Bumrah ruled out of IPL 2023 due to injury (Images: ©IPL/Twitter)

IPL 2023 is right around the corner and we are just about a fortnight away from the start of the 16th edition of the most followed T20 league in the world.

MI will miss Bumrah & Richardson

The main talking point in recent times has been about the injury woes that Mumbai Indians (MI) are facing even before the start of the tournament. The 5-time IPL champions and the most successful IPL team will be without two of their frontline pacers – Jasprit Bumrah and Jhye Richardson - for this season.

The reason behind both quick bowlers’ absence is that both are currently nursing their respective injuries and it is highly unlikely they will join the MI team in the upcoming edition. Jasprit Bumrah, the Indian pace spearhead, is recuperating from a back injury that has sidelined him till now having missed a large part of last year.

Bumrah has seldom played since leading the side in the rescheduled fifth Test of Pataudi Trophy 2021 against England and then playing in the subsequent ODI series in July 2022. Immediately after the tour, the back injury which kept him out for three months in 2019 recurred and he has only a couple of T20Is since then. Bumrah had to miss the Asia Cup 2022, ICC T20 World Cup 2022 and the ongoing Border Gavaskar Trophy 2022-23.

Bumrah was deemed fit and added to the Indian ODI squad for the series at home against Sri Lanka earlier in 2023, but he once again complained of back injury and that eventually ruled him out of the series. He was then expected to be part of the last two home Tests in the Border Gavaskar Trophy but it was not to be.

Bumrah underwent a surgery to his back in New Zealand a few days back and this effectively rules him out for at least 5 months. This means that the pacer will not only miss the IPL 2023 where he was to play for MI but also from Asia Cup 2023 and the WTC 2023 Final. At this stage, one can only hope Bumrah is fit for Cricket World Cup 2023 to be held in India later this year.

MI will not only miss the services of their sensational match-winner Bumrah but the also the Aussie quick Jhye Richardson. The pacer, like Bumrah, underwent a surgery to his troubled hamstring in England and with that he is ruled out of not only IPL 2023 but also Ashes 2023. Richardson had earlier represented Punjab Kings in IPL 2021 and a recurrence of hamstring injury that he sustained in BBL 2023 has thwarted his plans.

How will the pacers’ absence impact MI chances?

So, the absence of these two quick pacers will have a substantial impact on Mumbai Indians chances this year. MI were hoping that the returning Jofra Archer would pair up with Bumrah and thus form a fearsome opening bowling attack. Richardson was also expected to play a role at some point in time.

The main reason for MI’s 10th place finish in IPL 2022 was that they didn’t have a bowler to support and bowl in tandem with Jasprit Bumrah. They anticipated Jofra-Bumrah duo would be the answer to their question and pinned their hopes on them. But with Bumrah getting ruled out, Mumbai’s worries are only getting wider.

IPL 2022, MI vs RR Top Performances_ Riley Meredith' 2-24 restricts Rajasthan Royals to 158, MI beat RR _ Walking Wicket (Images ©BCCI_IPL)
Mumbai Indians released Riley Meredith ahead of IPL 2023 Auction (Images: ©IPL/Twitter)

Replacement for Jhye and Jasprit?

With the duo all but out of contention, their available options are very limited. Cameron Green, the Australia all-rounder looks like a certainty and can bowl his quota of overs. But with an inexperienced Indian bowling attack, they might need to feature another overseas bowler in the playing XI and that could very well be the left-arm pacer Jason Behrendorff. The fourth overseas option is likely to be the hard-hitting batter, Tim David. While the line-up does look good on paper, MI with and without Bumrah are two different teams and they will miss him.

Sandeep Sharma, the IPL veteran went surprisingly unsold at the IPL 2023 auctions, and he is touted be a replacement for the injured Jasprit Bumrah in the MI side. Though not an express pacer like Bumrah, Sandeep has found success in IPL taking 114 wickets in 104 games and is a genuine wicket-taker.

For Jhye Richardson, MI can look at these options – Rilee Meredith, Chris Jordan and Tom Curran. Meredith, the Aussie pacer is a likely candidate to take Jhye’s place as the former was part of the MI team last season. However, he was released and went unsold at the auction. He could be someone who is in MI’s radar along with Chris Jordan who is a death overs specialist and invariably take wickets at crucial junctures of an innings. Tom Curran, the England all-rounder, is another option at whom MI can look at. He is someone who can contribute both with bat and ball.

Mumbai Indians Squad: Rohit Sharma (captain), Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan, Dewald Brevis, Tilak Varma, Jofra Archer, Tim David, Mohd Arshad Khan, Ramandeep Singh, Hrithik Shokeen, Arjun Tendulkar, Tristan Stubbs, Kumar Kartikeya, Jason Behrendorff, Akash Madhwal, Cameron Green, Piyush Chawla, Duan Jansen, Vishnu Vinod, Shams Mulani, Nehal Wadhera, Raghav Goyal

IPL 2023 will kick off on March 31 with a game between defending champions Gujarat Titans and Chennai Super Kings at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad.

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