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Deck cleared for Shreyas Iyer and T Natarajan to return for remainder of IPL 2021

IPL COO Hemang Amin has informed franchises that players who had been replaced in the tournament's first leg can be brought back

Nagraj Gollapudi
A bridge too far - Shreyas Iyer's Delhi Capitals fought hard, but fell well short, Mumbai Indians vs Delhi Capitals, IPL 2020 final, Dubai, November 10, 2020

Whether Delhi Capitals will reinstate Shreyas Iyer as the team captain remains to be seen  •  BCCI

Shreyas Iyer and T Natarajan are fit for action again, and are eligible for a return for the remainder of IPL 2021 as the BCCI has allowed franchises to bring back players they had lost because of injuries - or had replaced for personal reasons - in the first part of the competition.
Earlier this week, the IPL's chief operating officer Hemang Amin had told the franchises that the deadline for submitting the list of replacement players would be August 20: "If in case any player who was injured or unavailable during the India leg of IPL 2021 and is now fit or available then the franchise which had taken a replacement player [due to] such previous unavailability, will need to elect [either] one of them."
Amin has explained that the players who had been brought in as replacements but were not going to be retained for the second leg would be put into the IPL's registered pool of players. But if the original player is released, then he will not be part of the registered pool.
Iyer, the designated Delhi Capitals captain, was ruled out of the IPL, which started in April, after he dislocated a shoulder in March while fielding during the ODI series against England in Pune. Rishabh Pant took over the captaincy following the update. But Iyer has since been passed fit to play, and it is understood that Iyer, along with Capitals' assistant coach Pravin Amre and trainer Rajnikanth Sivagnanam, arrived in Dubai on Saturday and will join the rest of the contingent next weekend after serving the mandatory week-long quarantine. Capitals are yet to announce whether Iyer will take the leadership duties back from Pant.
Under Iyer, Capitals made the IPL playoffs in 2019 and in 2020, finishing runners-up the last time. This season, too, they have started well, leading the points table with six wins and two losses in eight matches.
As for Natarajan, his return should come as a shot in the arm for Sunrisers Hyderabad, who are currently bottom of the table with just one win in seven matches this season. Natarajan had been hampered by a sore knee and was forced to abort the IPL in late April and undergo surgery subsequently.
Several players, including the Australian trio of Mitchell Marsh, Josh Hazlewood and Josh Philippe, had skipped the IPL this year to manage their workloads, as well as deal with the stress of living in bio-bubbles because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The second half of the IPL - of 31 matches - will be played in the UAE between September 19 and October 15.
List of replacements during the India leg of the 2021 IPL
Kolkata Knight Riders: Gurkeerat Singh replaced Rinku Singh
Chennai Super Kings: Jason Behrendorff replaced Josh Hazlewood
Sunrisers Hyderabad: Jason Roy replaced Mitchell Marsh
Rajasthan Royals: Gerald Coetzee replaced Liam Livingstone
Royal Challengers Bangalore: Scott Kuggeleijn replaced Kane Richardson, Finn Allen replaced Josh Phillipe
Delhi Capitals: Anirudh Joshi replaced Shreyas Iyer
With inputs from Gaurav Sundararaman

Nagraj Gollapudi is news editor at ESPNcricinfo