Scott Kuggeleijn, the New Zealand bowling allrounder, will replace Lungi Ngidi in Chennai Super Kings' squad for IPL 2019. Kuggeleijn will strengthen the Super Kings overseas contingent, which was hit first by Ngidi's withdrawal through injury, and then by David Willey opting out because of personal reasons.
In the IPL, replacements can only be sought for players who are injured, meaning Super Kings can't get anyone to make up for Willey's absence.
"We can't replace David Willey, and David's got a personal issue at home that he's dealing with. We've supported him and we'll continue to support him, contrary to some of the statements that have come out," Stephen Fleming, the Chennai Super Kings coach, said at M Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai a day before the team's match against Rajasthan Royals.
"We can't replace David Willey no matter what happens, so it's just about us supporting him and his family as they go through some issues at home. So that's the end of the story."
"We haven't got a tall, bounce bowler that Ngidi was. Kuggeleijn has got pace and the velocity, which is something different" STEPHEN FLEMING
But Ngidi, who had opted out with a side strain, has now been replaced by Kuggeleijn, perhaps not as accomplished a bowler, but a better batting option in the lower middle-order.
"For Lungi, we've been a bit more selective. It's obviously a different level of replacement player based on price, and we've gone with Scott Kuggeleijn, who's a New Zealand international who bowls quick and bats well," Fleming explained. "So we've looked for an allrounder, who has good pace and good variations. He'll be joining us next week."
Kuggeleijn made his T20I debut during India's tour of New Zealand in February, and has played four T20Is and two ODIs to date.
Though his international career is still young, it hasn't been without controversy, with protests by spectators at stadia during the India series - the 27-year-old had faced charges of rape in 2015, but was found not guilty two years ago.
In his brief time on the international stage, Kuggeleijn has proven himself to be a powerful striker of the ball down the order and has bowled at brisk pace. He had middling returns in New Zealand's Super Smash, the domestic T20 league, playing for runners-up Northern Districts. He took 13 wickets in nine games, giving up runs at 8.14 per over. He didn't have much to do with the bat, facing only 20 balls across six innings - four of which he remained not out in.
For Super Kings, Kuggeleijn will be the only overseas quick, though he isn't a like-for-like replacement for Ngidi. Fleming, however, said he was satisfied with the strength of the Super Kings pace attack.
"We value all the players in the squad," Fleming said. "We've got some good talent. Mohit Sharma is yet to play and he's getting back from a fitness injury. We haven't got a tall, bounce bowler that Ngidi was. Kuggeleijn has got pace and the velocity, which is something different.
"The way the pitch is going here (in Chennai) and the way our spinners are playing, I don't think pace is necessarily the key. The bounce is probably what interests us more. But you can't be everything, and we certainly back the players we've got. That's why we don't make hasty decisions about what type of player we want. We think we've got enough cover, and players that are in form waiting for an opportunity."