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Rassie van der Dussen lined up as Rajasthan Royals replacement

Franchise currently bottom amid injury and absence of three England squad members

Nagraj Gollapudi
Rassie van der Dussen is an experienced T20 cricketer but has yet to play in the IPL  •  AFP/Getty Images

Rassie van der Dussen is an experienced T20 cricketer but has yet to play in the IPL  •  AFP/Getty Images

Rassie van der Dussen, the South Africa batsman, is expected to join the Rajasthan Royals for the 2021 IPL season, as a reinforcement for the England pair of Ben Stokes and Liam Livingstone, who have both withdrawn from this year's tournament.
It is understood that van der Dussen is currently awaiting his visa clearance before he can fly into India. Livingstone, who chose to withdraw due to bubble fatigue, returned home this week ahead of India being added on Friday to the UK government's "red list", due to the deadly second wave of Covid-19 infections which is currently sweeping the country.
If van der Dussen does secure his visa, he will embark on his maiden IPL campaign, having played previously only in the 2020 CPL and the 2013 Champions League T20.
Recently the 32-year-old became the oldest South African player to record a maiden ODI century in the first match of the home series against Pakistan.
Despite being an unknown in franchise leagues, van der Dussen has vast experience in the shortest format, having played in 126 T20s - only seven players had more T20 caps before making an IPL debut. In that time, van der Dussen has made 3824 runs at an average of 38.62 and a strike rate of 131.31 in T20s.
The Royals have been severely hurt by the withdrawal of two key players: Stokes and fast bowler Jofra Archer, the tournament's MVP in 2020, and are currently last on the points table in the eight-team IPL, having won just one of their four matches.
Stokes was ruled out of the IPL after breaking his left index finger in the field in the Royals' opening match of the tournament, and is set to spend 12 weeks on the sidelines after undergoing an operation on his return to the UK.
Archer's absence from this year's tournament was confirmed on Friday, after he underwent surgery on his middle finger of his bowling hand, while also undergoing treatment on a longstanding elbow injury.
Stats inputs by Sampath B

Nagraj Gollapudi is news editor at ESPNcricinfo