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IPL 2021 – Jofra Archer likely to miss first four matches for Rajasthan Royals

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Fast bowler undergoes successful surgery to remove glass fragment from his hand

Jofra Archer is set to return to India to play for the Rajasthan Royals after a period on the sidelines recovering from injury, despite some early doubts over his availability for the 2021 IPL.

ESPNcricinfo understands Archer, who had finger surgery on Monday in England, is expected to miss at least the first four matches of the Royals’ schedule.

The IPL, which will be played behind closed doors in India, starts on April 9 with the Royals scheduled to play their first match on April 12 in Mumbai against the Punjab Kings.

The Royals were awaiting an update from the ECB on a firm date of departure, but it is understood the franchise expects him to be out for at least for the first four matches.

On Wednesday, the ECB said Archer had undergone successful surgery to remove a fragment of glass from the middle finger on his right hand and that he would now begin two weeks of rehabilitation. He would be reviewed by a consultant before returning to training and more would be known about the effectiveness of an injection to an ongoing elbow problem, once he was bowling again, the ECB added.

In terms of his IPL involvement, the ECB said it was too early to confirm and a decision would be made once he was given the all-clear to return to bowling.

Archer suffered a cut to his hand while cleaning at his home in January shortly before flying to India to prepare for their four-Test series. The ECB’s medical team managed the injury throughout the tour, and it did not impact on his availability.

Archer returned to England from the India tour immediately after the T20 series in March to have the injuries seen to, the elbow issue having troubled him since the South Africa tour in January 2020.

On Tuesday, Ashley Giles, the ECB’s director of cricket, revealed detail of Archer’s finger injury on BBC’s Tuffers & Vaughan show. According to Giles, Archer suffered a cut on the middle finger of his bowling hand in January while at home in Hove after dropping a tropical fish tank in the bath.

“They’ve operated and I think they found a small fragment of glass still in attendance. It obviously healed but there was part of the fish tank still in his finger,” Giles said.

On April 15 the Royals play against the Delhi Capitals, followed by the Chennai Super Kings on April 19 and then the Royal Challengers Bangalore on April 22.



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Shakib Al Hasan, Mustafizur Rahman join Bangladesh team bubble after quarantine

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Both players left quarantine on Monday night, 11 days after they arrived in Dhaka following the IPL’s deferment

Shakib Al Hasan and Mustafizur Rahman have started training with the Bangladesh squad after transferring from hotel quarantine to the team’s bio-bubble for the Sri Lanka series, according to the BCB. Both players left quarantine on Monday night, 11 days after they arrived in Dhaka following the IPL’s deferment.

Initially they were supposed to be in quarantine for 14 days, in accordance with the directive by the country’s health authorities for travellers from India, which is currently suffering a massive second wave of Covid-19 infections.

The BCB’s chief executive Nizamuddin Chowdhury said that there was no “special considerations” being made for the two, given that they will remain in a bio-bubble all through the Sri Lanka series, which begins on May 23. Training for the series began today.

“The directive that they must practise while staying in a bio-bubble environment still stands. They are practicing while within the bio-bubble. This is not a special consideration. They have shifted from their hotel quarantine to the team’s bio-bubble,” Chowdhury said, adding that the pair had tested negative three times before joining the bubble.

The IPL sent the two players to Dhaka on a chartered flight, since air travel between the two countries has been suspended since April 14. A hard lockdown was enforced in Bangladesh since that day, following a spike in Covid-19 cases from mid-March. With India also experiencing a severe second wave, the border between the two countries was also shut from late April. Land borders were reopened earlier this month, with those crossing over into Bangladesh needing to undergo institutional quarantine for 14 days.

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo’s Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84



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Daren Sammy relinquishes captaincy at St Lucia Zouks

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Two-time World Cup winner joins Andy Flower as part of the backroom staff

Daren Sammy has stepped down from his role as St Lucia Zouks captain to become the franchise’s “T20 cricket consultant and brand ambassador” for the 2021 CPL season.

Sammy led the Zouks – who had previously reached the play-offs once in seven seasons – to the final last year, after they finished third in the league phase and then bowled Guyana Amazon Warriors out for 55 in the semi-finals.

Sammy himself faced 51 balls and bowled only three overs across his 12 appearances, and with his playing role increasingly limited, he will now join Andy Flower’s coaching staff instead.

Sammy, a two-time T20 World champion, is yet to confirm his retirement from all cricket, but has not played since the 2020 CPL final, and is now head coach at his PSL franchise, Peshawar Zalmi.

“It’s been an absolute pleasure to have led and been a part of the St Lucia Zouks from its inception,” Sammy said in a CPL media release. “Even though some may say good things must come to an end it will not be in this instance: St Lucia Zouks and I will always be a team.

“But since venturing into coaching, I realise I have a new passion that can allow me to still contribute and play a part in taking the franchise forward on its quest to winning a CPL title and developing future stars.”

Flower, who called Sammy an “icon of West Indies white-ball cricket” and “the heartbeat of St Lucia Zouks,” said: “He’s decided to step away from playing after an amazing career both with the West Indies, where he led the side to two T20 World Cups, but also as a really inspirational leader, full of integrity, for the island. We want to continue our partnership with Daren coming in as part ambassador, part coach, part mentor alongside me.”

The Zouks also announced the retention of seven players from their 2020 squad ahead of the upcoming season, which starts on August 28 in St Kitts: Andre Fletcher, Kesrick Williams, Rahkeem Cornwall, Roston Chase, Obed McCoy, Mark Deyal and Javelle Glen.



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South Africa cricket – AB de Villiers decides ‘his retirement will remain final’

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Last month it had emerged he was in discussions over a possible South Africa comeback with an eye on the T20 World Cup

The chances of AB de Villiers featuring in this year’s T20 World Cup have dimmed, with Cricket South Africa stating that he has decided “once and for all, that his retirement will remain final”.



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