Rajasthan Royals hope Jofra Archer will play part in IPL but will take 'no risks' with the England paceman; Royals team director Kumar Sangakkara says: ''We have to be concerned about him as a player because his career is long-term and is not restricted to just one season and the IPL"
Sunday 11 April 2021 16:10, UK
Rajasthan Royals will not rush Jofra Archer's return to action in the Indian Premier League as they look after the England paceman, says team director Kumar Sangakkara.
Archer was ruled out of the start of the IPL due to a long-standing elbow injury, while he has since had successful surgery to remove glass from his hand following an accident involving a fish tank at his home in January.
Sangakkara - whose Royals side begin their IPL campaign against Punjab Kings on Monday, live on Sky Sports Cricket from 2.50pm - expects an update on the 25-year-old this week and says the franchise will put his long-term fitness first.
Archer was named IPL MVP in 2020, in large part to taking 20 wickets in 14 matches at an economy rate below seven.
Sangakkara said of the fast bowler: "Not having him at the start is a big blow for us, because a lot of our planning is centred around his availability.
"We are certainly hoping that he will be available for some part of the IPL but we have contingency plans in place now and no risks will be taken.
"It's very important that Jofra gets fit, not just for the IPL, but importantly for his international career.
"We have to be concerned about him as a player because his career is long-term and is not restricted to just one season and the IPL.
"His value to world cricket and to England cricket is part of our decision and we will be guided by the experts in English cricket who look after Jofra.
"It's not something we look at selfishly and we take a holistic view of how important Jofra is.
"He needs to be in a very good space with his body, and mentally, when he does come here, so we're all waiting to see how the assessment goes. Once the assessment is done, we'll know more."
Archer is one of a number of England players contracted to Rajasthan, alongside Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler and Liam Livingstone.
Stokes, Buttler and Livingstone could come up against Dawid Malan and Chris Jordan on Monday, with the latter duo in the Punjab Kings squad.
Sangakkara is confident the tournament will be played in full despite a rise in the number of Covid-19 cases in India.
"The risk is always there, but quarantine procedures are very stringent and we are testing every other day throughout the tournament," added the former Sri Lanka batsman.
"It is the responsibility of everybody, including the players, that we adhere to these strict guidelines because the consequence of any infection can be dramatic.
"Having experienced what they have in place I am very confident that this tournament will be played to its conclusion. They are doing a very efficient and professional job to ensure the tournament bubble is kept safe."
Watch Rajasthan Royals take on Punjab Kings in the Indian Premier League, live on Sky Sports Cricket from 2.50pm on Monday.