Kolkata Knight Riders have signed well-established New Zealand seamer Tim Southee in place of Pat Cummins, who has opted out of the IPL 2021's second leg, which begins on September 19 in the UAE.
Southee is the third-highest wicket-taker in T20I cricket, with 99 strikes in 83 games at an economy rate of 8.39, but his New Zealand team-mate Lockie Ferguson could potentially be the frontrunner to slot in for Cummins in the Knight Riders' XI if he recovers from Covid-19 in time. Ferguson had tested positive in the UK earlier this week and was subsequently ruled out of Yorkshire's Vitality Blast quarter-final against Sussex. In all, Southee has picked up 224 wickets in 201 T20 games.
Southee has been part of the Rajasthan Royals, the Chennai Super Kings, the Mumbai Indians and the Royal Challengers Bangalore in the past. He will now reunite with his former captain Brendon McCullum, who is now the Knight Riders' head coach.
Cummins was purchased by the Knight Riders for INR 15.5 crore (about US$ 2.2 million) in the IPL 2020 auction and has since been a crucial part of the team. Cummins had played each of the seven games in the opening part of this year's IPL in India, until IPL postponement due to Covid-19, taking nine wickets and scoring 93 runs, including a career-best 66 not out that gave the Super Kings a fright in Mumbai.