Sunil Gavaskar has come down heavily on Jofra Archer for leaving the Mumbai Indians camp midway through the IPL 2023. Archer, who played just five matches for MI this year – endured a recurrence of the elbow injury that forced him to miss nearly eight months of cricket – and left the IPL on May 9 even before MI could finish their campaign. The move didn’t sit well with Gavaskar, who feels MI should not be paying Archer the full amount of 8 crore they spent on him at the IPL 2022 auction.
Archer bled buckets of runs going for 33 against RCB, 42 against Punjab Kings and 56 against the same opponent in the return fixture. All this, while picking just 2 wickets. What has ticked Gavaskar off the most is Archer’s attitude, with the former India captain questioning the England quick’s commitment towards the franchise.
“What has been Mumbai Indians experience of Jofra Archer? They took a punt on him knowing that he was injured and would be available only from this season. They paid big money for him and what has he given in return? He didn’t seem 100 per cent fit and he should have informed the franchise about it. They only realised when he turned up and found that he was barely able to bowl at his usual pace. In between the tournament, he went abroad for treatment which is what his country’s cricket board apparently said. So he was never fully fit, but still came over. If he was committed to the franchise, who probably pay him more than the ECB does, he should have stayed right till the end even if he wasn’t going to play and show his commitment towards the franchise. Instead, he has opted to fly off back to the UK,” Gavaskar wrote in his column for Mid-Day.
In between the IPL, a report emerged that Archer had flown to England to consult a doctor even though the fast bowler refuted it on Twitter. And now that Archer – who was ruled out of England’s Ashes squad for the five-Test series against Australia – has returned home officially to ‘focus on his rehabilitation’, Gavaskar expects MI to ‘not be fools’ and pump the entire amount assigned to him in his bank account.
“A day later, a story appears that he is going to get a multi-million-pound deal with Mumbai Indians to play for their team in the various leagues in the world. This has got to be the greatest diversionary trick attempted. Mumbai Indians are not fools to sign a lame horse for any future race. Make no mistake, Mumbai Indians won’t be amused at the turn of events and now that they have come back well in the tournament without his presence, he will be lucky if he gets his full fee for the IPL and if he does then he would do well to give half to his favourite charity.”
“There’s simply no point paying even one rupee for a player, however big a name he may be, if he is not going to be available for the entire tournament. It’s got to be the player’s choice to pick playing for an IPL franchise or his country. Full marks to him if he chooses country over IPL, but if he chooses IPL then he has to fulfil his commitments totally and not make some excuse and leave early, especially towards the time when qualifying for the Playoffs becomes crucial,” added Gavaskar.