Australia quick Nathan Ellis has signed with the Punjab Kings for the second half of IPL 2021. The Kings confirmed the signing on Friday night.

ESPNcricinfo understands that Ellis had three franchises chasing his signature with a host of Australian players - including the Kings pair of Jhye Richardson and Riley Meredith and the Kolkata Knight Riders quick Pat Cummins - unlikely to return to the tournament for a variety of reasons.

In the likely absence of Richardson and Meredith, Ellis is set to provide the Kings vital cushion in the fast-bowling department.

Ellis, 26, has capped a sensational 12 months, climbing from the fringes of Australian domestic cricket to a hat-trick on international debut against Bangladesh and gain selection as one of Australia's three reserve players for the T20 World Cup.

Josh Hazlewood, meanwhile, is expected to return to the Chennai Super Kings after pulling out of the first half of the IPL. Hazlewood and Cricket Australia are understood to be keen for the quick to use the tournament as preparation for the T20 World Cup.

Alex Malcolm is an Associate Editor at ESPNcricinfo