Mumbai Indians have suffered a big jolt with their West Indian paceman Alzarri Joseph ruled out of the rest of the IPL with an injury. The replacement for the Antiguan fast bowler is South Africa's Beuran Hendricks. In an interesting turn of events, Joseph, who himself came as a replacement for New Zealander Adam Milne, now will be substituted by a player from a third country.
Joseph has been playing international cricket for some time but made a big splash in the IPL this year when, on his league debut, he managed incredible figures of 6/12 to dismantle Sunrisers Hyderabad. This set a new record for the best performance by a debutant in IPL.
So, who is Beuran Hendricks? Does he have the ability to prove effective for the Rohit Sharma-led side?
To begin with, Hendricks is a left-arm seamer unlike Joseph and hence would provide a different angle. Like many South African pacemen, he too has a smooth bowling action and can generate good pace. In 2013, he managed to catapult himself to the attention of fans and experts by performing exceptionally well for South Africa A in series against India A and Australia A. He was expected to make the jump to international cricket and emerge as the next fast bowling sensation for the Proteas.
It was around this time that he also caught the attention of IPL franchisees and got picked by Kings XI Punjab. However, neither his international career nor the IPL stint produced expected results and Hendricks went into the background. He was overtaken by other emerging bowlers such as Kagiso Rabada and Duanne Olivier.
Revival of Hendricks
For a long time, the 28-year old remained out of the national team. He was brought back into the team earlier this year and earned his debut in the ODI format. But with his left-arm angle, ability to swing the ball and good speed, he may still make an impact.
If he does that, there may be a revival of his international career. With the likes of Rabada and Lungi Ngidi becoming top performers, it would be hard to break his way into the South Africa Test team. But if there is one thing Proteas lack, it is a quality left-arm pacer. This is the void that Hendricks can fill.
But presently, he has to help his team Mumbai Indians keep themselves in the top-four and if possible, ascend to a place higher than their current no. 3 position. Bowling with the likes of Lasith Malinga and Jasprit Bumrah will help him immensely. If he can pick up a few tricks from these two, it would be an even bigger gain.