In a significant blow to the Sunrisers Hyderabad, India fast bowler Bhuvneshwar Kumar has been ruled out of IPL 2020 due to a thigh injury he picked against the Chennai Super Kings last week. The Sunrisers have announced left-arm fast bowler Prithvi Raj Yarra as replacement.
Concerns grew over Kumar's fitness and further participation in the IPL after he sat out the Sunrisers' last match, on Sunday against the Mumbai Indians. Kumar had limped out of the field in the previous match against the Chennai Super Kings, having bowled just one delivery while into his fourth over.
At the time, Kumar was seen holding his hip, but it is understood he has injured his thigh. It cannot be confirmed how serious the injury is. However, the Indian team management and selectors would be concerned, considering he would be in the reckoning for India's upcoming tour of Australia - which is likely to be start in late November - although no official itinerary has been announced.
Kumar is the third player - and second for the Sunrisers - to miss this year's IPL due to injury. Australia allrounder Mitchell Marsh was the first to be ruled out due to ankle injury in the first week of IPL. Also, on Monday, the Delhi Capitals announced that legspinner Amit Mishra would not participate further in the tournament, having hurt the ring finger on his bowling hand.
The Sunrisers are bound to feel the absence of Kumar, their most experienced and best strike bowler. Even though he had just taken three wickets this IPL, he was among the most economical bowlers in the tournament, having given away just 6.98 runs an over.
Kumar, who is 30, would be disappointed that another injury has disrupted his return to cricket. Recently, talking on Cricketbaazi, a show hosted by former India wicketkeeper Deep Dasgupta on ESPNcricinfo, he had pointed out of being wary of picking niggles upon returning to cricket after several months in lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Who is Prithvi Raj Yarra?
Prithvi Raj Yarra is a 22-year-old left-arm fast bowler, who has played only ten first-class matches for Andhra. However, he has become one of their prime bowlers whenever available for selection over the last three seasons, having taken 39 wickets at 21.51.
His speeds are similar to that of fellow Sunrisers' fast bowler Khaleel Ahmed. Yarra was picked by the Kolkata Knight Riders in the 2019 IPL and played only two matches. Incidentally, his only IPL wicket came on debut against the Sunrisers when he foxed David Warner with a slower ball. Despite a low number of senior-level matches since debuting in the 2017-18 season, Raj has already played in the Duleep Trophy for India Red and in the Deodhar Trophy last year for India A. His last T20 match came for the Knight Riders against the Rajasthan Royals in last year's IPL.
Yarra travelled with the Sunrisers' squad as a net bowler and hence would be automatically assimilated into the squad without having to undergo the six-day quarantine for anyone coming into the IPL's biosecure environment.
Nagraj Gollapudi is news editor at ESPNcricinfo