In another blow for Kolkata Knight Riders, South Africa fast bowler Anrich Nortje has been ruled out of the 2019 edition of the IPL because of a shoulder injury. His national team-mate Lungi Ngidi, too, will miss his stint with Chennai Super Kings, after South Africa's team manager said that Ngidi picked up a side-strain injury during the ODI series against Sri Lanka.
Nortje's absence weakens the Knight Riders' pace reserves further, with the young Indian duo of Kamlesh Nagarkoti and Shivam Mavi already on the sidelines, and of the two replacements, only Sandeep Warrier a fast bowler. KC Cariappa, the other replacement, is a wristspinner.
The 25-year-old Nortje, who was set for his maiden IPL season, had been picked by Knight Riders at his base price of INR 20 lakh at the auction in December, despite having missed part of the Mzansi Super League with an ankle injury. In the three matches he did play for Cape Town Blitz, however, he took eight wickets and hit speeds of 150kph, catching the eye of Knight Riders' coach Jacques Kallis, himself a Cape Town local.
Nortje earned a call-up to South Africa's limited-overs sides and earlier this month made his international debut in the home ODIs against Sri Lanka. He has taken eight wickets in four matches in the format so far.
For Ngidi, the 2019 season would have been his second season with defending champions CSK. He was bought for INR 50 lakh before the 2018 season, taking 11 wickets in seven games for CSK, at an economy of 6 and a strike-rate of less than 15. In the 5th ODI against Sri Lanka, Ngidi felt discomfort while bowling at Newlands and immediately stopped bowling. Further scans revealed a Grade II muscle strain which, his team manager says, "will need up to four weeks of rest followed by a rehab programme" leading up to the World Cup.
Both Knight Riders and CSK are yet to announce a replacements for Nortje or Ngidi.