Kolkata: It had been quite an ordeal on part of the IPL franchises to scour for suitable replacements for some of the last-minute pullouts from the UAE leg of the tournament, which gets underway in Dubai on September 19.
Even on Monday morning, Delhi Capitals announced Australian fast bowler Ben Dwarshuis as a replacement for the in-form English allrounder Chris Woakes, who was among a trio of English stars (Jonny Bairstow & Dawid Malan being the other two) who pulled out at the last minute - possibly robbing the tournament of some sheen in terms of overseas star-value.
While none of the franchises were willing to go on record, they are not impressed with the withdrawals after the stars had committed to the second phase of the league which precedes the T20 World Cup. Bairstow, Woakes and Malan pulled out citing ‘personal reasons,’ leaving the concerned franchises in lurch as travel restrictions, quarantine facilities in certain parts of the world didn’t allow the teams to opt for like-for-like choices from the pool.
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Dwarshuis, the Capitals’ replacement for Woakes, has scalped 100 wickets in 82 T20 matches at an average of 23.73. The 27-year-old, who plays for the Sydney Sixers in the Big Bash League, has decent credentials as he is the sixth highest wicket-taker in the history of the tournament with 85 wickets in 69 matches.
The absence of Bairstow for Sunrisers Hyderabad will possibly hurt the Orange Army the most as the England wicketkeeper-batsman had been very much a part of their think tank along with skipper Kane Williamson and David Warner. They have announced West Indian Sherfane Rutherford as replacement for Bairstow while Punjab Kings has roped in Aiden Markram of South Africa for Malan.
“See we understand these circumstances are unprecedented for the players. They continuously stay in Bubbles, suffer from mental fatigue, we completely understand that and empathize with them. But they need to understand we too are in a same boat and this last minute issues are very difficult to manage”, a spokesperson of one of the teams rued.
Earlier, the window for replacements in August had seen quite a hectic activity with Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) making the maximum number of changes with Sri Lankan leg spinner Wanindu Hasaranga coming in for Adam Zampa (Australia), seam bowler Dushmantha Chameera for Daniel Sams, England’s bowling allrounder George Garton for Kane Richardson and New Zealander Tim David for Finn Allen. Akash Deep, a nippy pacer from Bengal, was drafted in after Washington Sundar was unavailable due to injury.
“I have been in touch with everyone. We have had discussions over the last month or so, a little longer with that with the replacements and who’s coming, who’s not. Eventually, we ended up replacing our key players with some top-quality cricketers. Our key players will be missed and they are a part of the family. But the people coming in have some great skillsets, especially in these conditions. I am very excited to see them with the whole group at practice & very excited to resume a very good season that we started last time around,” Kohli, who flew in along with Mohammed Siraj from England in a chartered flight, said in a video message.
Altogether 29 matches were played during the first leg of IPL 2021 with each team playing at least seven games each. Mumbai Indians, Delhi Capitals, Royal Challengers Bangalore and Chennai Super Kings finished in the top half of the table while Punjab Kings, Sunrisers Hyderabad, Rajasthan Royals and Kolkata Knight Riders finished in the bottom half of the table.
FINAL REPLACEMENTS’ LIST
Wanindu Hasaranga for Adam Zampa (Royal Challengers Bangalore)
Dushmantha Chameera for Daniel Sams (Royal Challengers Bangalore)
George Garton for Kane Richardson (Royal Challengers Bangalore)
Tim David for Finn Allen (Royal Challengers Bangalore)
Akash Deep for Washington Sundar (Royal Challengers Bangalore)
Glenn Phillips for Jofra Archer (Rajasthan Royals)
Tabraiz Shamsi for Andrew Tye (Rajasthan Royals)
Nathan Ellis for Riley Meredith (Punjab Kings)
Adil Rashid for Jhye Richardson (Punjab Kings)
Aiden Markram for Dawid Malan (Punjab Kings)
Tim Southee for Pat Cummins (Kolkata Knight Riders)
Sherfane Rutherford for Jonny Bairstow (Sunrisers Hyderabad)
Ben Dwarshuis for Chris Woakes (Delhi Capitals)