The second leg of IPL 2021 gets underway on September 19.
England speedster Jofra Archer won’t participate in the second half of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 due to his elbow issues. The right-arm pacer didn’t play regular cricket for the last couple of years due to his elbow injury. His wound deteriorated even further during the five-match T20I series against India earlier this year. The injury even forced him to pull out of the now-postponed IPL 2021.
After undergoing surgery on his left elbow, Archer made a brief comeback in May and played some domestic matches. While many fans expected him to get back in action soon, England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) shattered their hopes by announcing that Archer is ruled out for the entire year.
Archer’s unavailability is indeed a major setback for Rajasthan Royals as the pacer has been a vital cog of the team ever since making his IPL debut in 2018. He was even named the Most Valuable Player in IPL 2020. Hence, his absence could dent RR’s chances of getting the glory in UAE. Notably, the Royals were fifth in the team standings at the time of season suspension, having won three of their seven games.
Meanwhile here’s a look at 5 Players who can replace Jofra Archer in IPL 2021 UAE Leg
1. Wanindu Hasaranga
The Sri Lankan Leg-spinner has been the talk of the town lately. Wanindu Hasaranga delivered some sensational spells during the recently-concluded T20I series against India as the Lankan Lions registered a famous 2-1 win. Hasaranga isn’t a massive turner of the bowler but relies on his accuracy and variations to get the better of batters.
The leggie doesn’t tend to leak a lot of runs and his happy knack of taking regular wickets makes him a captain’s delight. As far as his T20I numbers are concerned, Hasaranga has scalped 33 wickets in just 21 games at a sensational economy rate of 6.56. With the remaining tournament taking place in the spin-friendly conditions of UAE, the Lankan star would be an apt inclusion in the RR side.
Not to forget, Hasaranga can also contribute with the bat. On many occasions, he has helped Sri Lanka with his blitzes lower down the order. This means his inclusion in the playing XI would give depth to the batting line-up as well.
2. David Willey
Archer’s England teammate David Willey is another player whom RR can target for the UAE leg. The left-arm pacer can swing the ball both ways and that too with a brisk pace. He also has many variations in his arsenal to trouble the batters. If that’s not enough, Willey can also score handy runs lower down the order.
Notably, Willey isn’t entirely alien with the happenings of the Indian Premier League. He played three matches for Chennai Super Kings in the 2018 season, scalping two wickets. The fast bowler didn’t get to play in the next couple of seasons. However, the UAE leg might see Willey coming back in IPL in Rajasthan Royals attire.
Coming to Willey’s T20I record, the pacer has scalped 38 wickets in 32 games with his economy rate being below eight. At times, he has also contributed with his big-hitting skills.
3. Sheldon Cottrell
Sheldon Cottrell has been a vital cog of the West Indies team for a while. The left-arm pacer is known for utilizing the new ball to perfection. He tends to extract movement from any surface which helps him take wickets in the powerplay overs. Cottrell also has a vicious bouncer and pin-point yorkers. Hence, one can expect RR to go after the pacer.
The 31-year-old currently has 42 wickets in 34 T20I games with his economy rate being 7.85. Notably, Cottrell has featured in IPL before. He played six matches for Kings XI Punjab (now) Punjab Kings in the 2020 season which also took place in the United Arab Emirates.
He took six wickets in as many games at an economy rate of 8.8. One can say that his IPL record isn’t that daunting. However, Cottrell has been in impressive form lately. He bowled some fine spells against Australia and Pakistan and it would be interesting to see if RR picks him.
4. Keemo Paul
Sheldon Cottrell’s West Indies teammate Keemo Paul also features on this list. Unlike Archer, Paul isn’t known to set the speed gun on fire and clocking high speeds. However, the right-arm fast bowler has several variations in his armoury to get the better of batters. He can contribute with his blitzes with the willow.
Paul has also played IPL before. He played eight matches for Delhi Capitals in the 2019 season where he scalped nine wickets. Although he didn’t feature in the next season, Paul might make a comeback in the UAE leg of IPL this year. This would indeed be a major boost for Rajasthan Royals as Paul can contribute in all three departments.
Meanwhile, Paul has so far scalped 24 wickets in 20 games at an economy rate of 8.93. This also includes a match-winning five-wicket haul. Hence, the Jaipur-based franchise should look to bag Paul’s services.
5. Dwaine Pretorius
The South African all-rounder might also be in contention to replace Jofra Archer in the Rajasthan Royals camp. Pretorius can move the new ball and his height helps him extract extra bounce from the surface. He also has several variations in his arsenal to control the run-flow in the crunch overs. The dasher is also known for his big-hitting skills.
Pretorius, who made his T20I debut in 2017, has so far taken 13 wickets in 14 games. He even has a five-wicket haul in this format. As far as his batting is concerned, the Proteas star has scored 159 runs at a strike rate of 165.62. Notably, his T20I score is 77.
These numbers clearly show Pretorius is a great asset in T20 matches and Rajasthan Royals must be aware of the fact. Hence, one might see the South African star donning the pink jersey for the UAE leg of the season.