Bengaluru, April 1 (IANS) Sunday’s marquee clash between Royal Challengers Bangalore and Mumbai Indians at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium has been largely dominated by the availability of players from both camps.
Bangalore, set to play their first home game after four years, are sweating over the availability of Rajat Patidar and Josh Hazlewood. Head coach Sanjay Bangar is hoping that Patidar, currently undergoing rehabilitation for a heel injury at the National Cricket Academy (NCA), can be back in action at some point in the competition.
“As far as Rajat goes, at this point, he’s out of our control, at the NCA he’s sort of undergoing treatment in that particular academy and we are still waiting for the clarifications from him. And once we get the clarifications, our media team will certainly keep you in the loop and it might also be the case, the NCA will take a very sporting call on what he does or what his future holds,” he said in the pre-match press conference.
On the other hand, there is some happy news for Mumbai Indians as their head coach Mark Boucher confirmed skipper Rohit Sharma and pacer Jofra Archer were fit for their tournament opener on Sunday.
Rohit had skipped the ‘aptains’ photoshoot a day before IPL 2023 began in Ahmedabad, sparking speculations that he would be unavailable for the opening game.
“Yes, Rohit is fit. He has trained for the last two days and is 100 per cent ready to go. I think he didn’t feel particularly well that morning and just as a precaution, we told him to stay at home. There are a lot of photo-shoots the boys have had to do. He’s not had a lot of time to himself so we thought it was better.”
With no Jasprit Bumrah and Jhye Richardson for the entire season, the responsibility of spearhe’ding Mumbai’s bowling attack lies on the shoulders of Jofra Archer, who is himself coming off a long injury layoff.
“Jofra is good, he is 100 per cent ready for tomorrow. He didn’t train today; it was an optional training session. He felt that he was ready to put the spikes on tomorrow. We are very happy with his progression since he has been with us. He’ll be playing tomorrow,” added Boucher.
While confirming that Glenn Maxwell is fully fit and available to start for Bangalore on Sunday, Bangar also talked about tall left-arm quick Reece Topley as an option in place of injured fast bowler Josh Hazlewood.
“We sort of anticipated it and it was factored in the auction or pre-auction meeting. We are happy to secure the services of Reece Topley, who provides a like-for-like replacement for Josh and having factored in that, that sort of gives us a good cover. I am sure his left-arm bowling option will add to the bowling group.”