The USA fast bowler Ali Khan's maiden stint in the IPL, with the Kolkata Knight Riders, has ended without any game time - a side strain that he had carried with him from the CPL to the UAE has forced him to return home. ESPNcricinfo understands New Zealand wicketkeeper-batsman Tim Seifert has been roped in as Khan's replacement.
A report in Stuff on Friday had mentioned that Northern Districts, Seifert's domestic team, had "confirmed" that the cricketer "was another absentee [for the Plunket Shield] in coming weeks, summoned to the IPL as a replacement player".
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But questions around Khan's match-readiness never quite went away, with an IPL media statement on October 7 saying - prematurely, as it turned out - that he was "injured, and will miss the rest of the season". At the time, word from within the Knight Riders camp was that Khan was indeed carrying the injury but was recovering fast and was even training regularly with the rest of the team.
The Knight Riders' chief executive Venky Mysore had said that while Khan's injury was untimely, the franchise was optimistic about his recovery. "While we are disappointed that he injured himself, KKR always does everything to take care of its players and therefore have asked him to stay on and are helping him with his recovery and rehab. Hopefully, he will recover fast," Mysore had told ESPNcricinfo then.
Like Khan, Seifert, too, is a short-format specialist, who has turned out for New Zealand in three ODIs and 24 T20Is, and averages 22.85 with a strike rate of 139.75 in the latter. He was Khan's colleague during the Trinbago Knight Riders' title-winning run at the CPL but didn't have too good a time of it, struggling on the sluggish pitches to score just 133 runs in nine innings at a strike rate of 109.91.