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Archer misses Mumbai vs CSK clash in the IPL as precaution

Mumbai coach Boucher says England seamer has "picked up a little niggle"

Nagraj Gollapudi and Matt Roller
Jofra Archer was absent from Mumbai Indians' line-up for their seven-wicket defeat to Chennai Super Kings at the Wankhede Stadium on Saturday evening. ESPNcricinfo has learned that Archer experienced discomfort in his right elbow immediately after his first game of the season against Royal Challengers Bangalore on April 2.
Rohit Sharma, the Mumbai captain, when asked by Ravi Shastri at the toss about injuries replied, "one injury." He then quickly corrected himself to say, "not an injury actually, more of a precaution" before confirming that Archer was sitting out.
It is understood that Archer has not bowled since that match although he did turn up for one of Mumbai's training sessions this week. He travelled to the Wankhede with the rest of the squad but warmed up away from his team-mates, undergoing short running and throwing drills.
"He's picked up a little niggle," Mark Boucher, Mumbai's head coach, said after the match. "We've got a fantastic medical team that are looking after him. He's obviously a massive player for us, so hopefully they can pass him fit sometime soon.
"We will always look after the player, so if he's not ready to put his hand up to play then we'll look after him as well, but we're following medical advice from our team at the moment. Hopefully he's up for selection pretty soon."
Mumbai bought Archer for INR 8 crore (£800,000 approx) last year, even though they knew he wouldn't be able to play IPL 2022. Saturday's game was his debut for the franchise, having previously represented Rajasthan Royals. He went wicketless, giving away 33 runs in his four-overs spell as Royal Challengers cruised to victory.
Having broken onto the scene as a generational talent, Archer suffered a major injury setback in 2021 when he began to have trouble with the same right elbow that is causing concern now. The England fast bowler had to undergo two operations for it, and missed nearly two years of international cricket after suffering a lower-back stress fracture during his rehabilitation.
He had only just returned to cricket in January this year, playing for another Mumbai franchise - MI Cape Town - in the SA20. In total, Archer has played 10 T20s and four ODIs since his comeback. The 28 year-old has been careful about doing too much too soon and is already seeing the possibility of playing anything more than one Ashes Test - the five-match series begins on June 16 - as a bonus.

Super Kings without Stokes and Moeen

Ben Stokes, Archer's England captain, was also ruled out of Saturday night's fixture. Stokes said earlier this week that he had bowled "pain-free" during Super Kings' victory over Lucknow Super Giants on Monday night, but reports emerged on Friday night that he had a sore heel after training. Stokes has been clear that he wants to be fit and ready for the new English summer, which begins with a Test against Ireland on June 1 and leads into the Ashes.
Archer, Stokes travelled to the Wankede on Saturday night but took minimal part in the team's warm-ups. The franchise clarified on Sunday afternoon that Stokes was "nursing a minor toe injury" which he had sustained in training.
A third England player, Moeen Ali, was also ruled out of the game due to illness. Moeen played in both of Super Kings' first two matches of the 2023 season and addressed a press conference on Friday evening, but Dhoni said he was "not well" at the toss.
Deepak Chahar was added to this list when the game began, the fast bowler only able to complete one over before leaving the field with his left hamstring causing problems. He's already had a difficult time with injuries to his back and quadricep in 2022.

Nagraj Gollapudi is news editor at ESPNcricinfo. Matt Roller is an assistant editor.