Hamstring tear rules Adam Milne out of IPL
A hamstring injury has ruled Adam Milne out of the IPL, adding to Royal Challengers Bangalore's growing bowling worries. The New Zealand fast bowler did not report for training on the eve their match against Rising Pune Supergiants on Saturday. Although no franchise official was available for a comment, it is understood Milne left India a few days ago having picked up a Grade 2 hamstring tear in his right thigh. Royal Challengers are yet to seek a replacement for him.
A weakened bowling attack has been a factor in Royal Challengers' below-par performance in the first half of the season, and Milne's exit only exacerbates the issue. Milne is the third overseas bowler the franchise has lost to injury. Royal Challengers have already had to replace Samuel Badree with Tabraiz Shamsi and Mitchell Starc with Chris Jordan.
Milne has only played one match in the IPL since Royal Challengers acquired him last year for Rs 70 lakh. Bowling consistently at speeds in the 145-150 kph range, Milne is one of the fastest bowlers in contemporary cricket. But the 24-year-old has been constantly sidelined by injury over the last few years.
Essex, where Milne is scheduled to arrive for the NatWest Blast season, will also be desperate to learn the extent of the injury which depending on its severity can take either a few weeks or a couple of months.
He missed the 2015 IPL after failing to recover from a heel injury picked during last year's World Cup, where he missed New Zealand's last two matches.
At the start of the 2016 season, Milne's former New Zealand team-mate Daniel Vettori, Royal Challengers' head coach, had said he expected Milne to take the opportunity to fill the vacancy created by Starc's absence. Starc, Royal Challengers' best bowler last year, was ruled out of this year's edition with a foot injury. But Milne has only managed one game so far, Royal Challengers' first of the tournament, against Sunrisers Hyderabad. He picked up a wicket in that game while conceding 43 in his four overs.
With Milne gone, the Australian pair of Shane Watson and Kane Richardson, the England allrounder Jordan, and the South African allrounder David Wiese are the main overseas seam bowlers left on the Royal Challengers bench.
Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo