No IPL means missed opportunity for Rutherford

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By Akeem Greene

Mumbai Indians signing Sherfane Rutherford says he would surely miss the opportunity to play at this year’s Indian Premier League (IPL), should the COVID-19 pandemic force a total cancellation.

The tournament was postponed indefinitely, ESPNCricinfo reported on Wednesday.

The Guyanese all-rounder was hoping to be at his imperious best to enhance his case for a spot in the West Indies squad for this year’s World T20 in Australia.

Back in July 2019, four-time IPL champions, Mumbai Indians, completed a player transfer, releasing Mayank Markande to Delhi Capitals and enlisting the hard-hitting Guyana and West Indies player.

An optimistic Mumbai Indians owner Akash Ambani stated, “I am excited to welcome the talented Sherfane into our family. He has impressed us with his all-round skills and match-winning attitude. His exploits across the world at such an early stage of his career have been impressive and we believe he finds his home at MI.”

However, it seems Rutherford may well have to wait another year to showcase his exploits, given Wednesday’s announcement.

“The Board of Control for Cricket in India has suspended the 2020 edition of the IPL until further notice because of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is understood that the BCCI has not set a new window yet for the tournament, which was to be held between March 29 and May 24 originally,” ESPNCricinfo stated.

The new start date was April 15, but that is now out the window, given the lockdown extension.

“If it is being called off it will be a big miss for me because I have a new team and I am very excited to go and meet new players, learn new things. If it is called off that is not our control and God has the final say. It is just for me to keep training,” Rutherford expressed on Tuesday.

The all-rounder wants to produce an impactful performance whenever he gets another outing in West Indies colours

The 21-year-old, who has played six T20Is, was hoping that a strong IPL performance would help him to add to those numbers and earn him a spot in the defending champions World Cup squad.

The World T20 is scheduled for October 17 to November 15 in Australia.

“IPL is the biggest league so that’s why I was putting in the work, so whenever my opportunity comes I make the best use out of it, but now are testing times and I hope the tournament can possibly play so I can get that opportunity to showcase my talent and put myself up for a grab at a World Cup spot.”

Rutherford, who was traded for approximately US$280,000, added he was looking forward to teaming up with Hardik Pandya, whom he deems to be one of the better all-rounders in World Cricket.

ESPNCricinfo clarified that none of the IPL players will receive any money until the tournament actually takes place. “As per the norm, franchises make payments in two installments: the first a week before the tournament starts and the rest after the season is over,” ESPNCricinfo reported.

Acknowledging he has not made the most of his opportunities for West Indies, Rutherford believes he is close to producing that “big performance.”

Meanwhile, he urged fellow Guyanese to stay safe and still try to maintain a healthy lifestyle while following the guidelines on protection against COVID-19.

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