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April 4, 2009
Jerome Taylor, the West Indies fast bowler who was picked up by Kings XI Punjab in this year's auction, has been ruled out of the IPL due to an injury, the franchise owner Ness Wadia said. He also said that he didn't expect the franchise to lose much money because of moving the tournament to South Africa as the IPL would underwrite some of the costs.
Taylor sustained the injury from a vehicle accident and has been replaced by the 26-year-old South African left-arm fast bowler Yusuf Abdulla, who made an impressive Twenty20 debut against Australia last week.
The news of Taylor pulling out comes as a blow to the franchise, which has already lost the services of their most successful bowler from the previous season, Sreesanth, due to a back injury. Also, one of their most expensive players, Australian fast bowler Brett Lee, is recovering from a foot injury, and has not played any cricket this year.
Wadia said having South African players in the squad will be "critical" to success in the second season because they know the conditions well. He cited that as one of the reasons for signing up Abdulla. "We will be playing six matches in Durban, which is Abdulla's home ground," he said, "and he knows the ground better than anybody."
Abdulla has played 26 Twenty20 matches, and his economy rate of 5.83 ranks among the best in the world.
When asked about the financial impact on the franchise of holding the IPL in South Africa, Wadia felt there wouldn't be too much of an effect. "To be honest it balances (the extra costs and the savings made because of the switch) itself out," he said. "They will be hidden costs, and I'm sure there also will be hidden profits also. [The total expenses] will be within plus or minus 10% eventually, in my view ."
Wadia said the franchises will definitely have to pay for using the South African grounds, and was unsure whether those costs would be covered by the IPL. He was also uncertain whether the franchises would get a share of the gate revenue.
Punjab have also signed up Dave Nosworthy, head coach of the Lions, to assist coach Tom Moody. Wadia also confirmed that the franchise had chosen Port Elizabeth as their base for the tournament. "It is a small town where everything is five minutes away, which allows us to focus on practice and playing cricket."
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