Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) has named 21-year-old Jammu and Kashmir pacer Umran Malik as T Natarajan’s replacement in the Indian Premier League (IPL).
Natarajan had tested positive for COVID-19 ahead of SRH’s game against Delhi Capitals (DC) on Wednesday. He was asymptotic and is currently in self-isolation.
“Umran Malik, a fast bowler from Jammu & Kashmir, who was with the #Risers as a net bowler, has been added to the squad as a short-term COVID replacement for T Natarajan,” SRH tweeted.
IPL said under Regulation 6.1 (c), franchisees are allowed to sign a short-term replacement player until the original squad member is permitted to re-enter the team’s bio-secure environment. “Hence, Malik will only be a part of the Sunrisers Hyderabad side until Natarajan recovers and is allowed to join the team,” IPL said in an official release.
Malik made his competitive debut earlier this year. He has picked a total of four wickets, having played one T20 and List A match for Jammu Kashmir.
On Wednesday, after Natarajan returned with a positive result, the medical team identified as many as six close contacts of the player, who were also placed in isolation. They include Vijay Shankar, Vijay Kumar – Team Manager, Shyam Sundar J – Physiotherapist, Anjana Vannan – Doctor, Tushar Khedkar – Logistics Manager, and Periyasamy Ganesan – Net Bowler.
Despite Natarajan’s covid positive result, SRH’s fixture against DC went ahead on Wednesday in Dubai. Kane Williamson-led SRH were restricted at 134 for 9 in 20 overs before Delhi chased it down with 2.1 overs and eight wickets to spare.
“We didn’t start well, didn’t register a decent partnership but never got any momentum, some good scores in the back-end, but pretty much 25-30 runs short. We did bowl well, we have defended modest scores in the past, but it wasn’t to be today which was a bit of a shame. It’s been a difficult campaign so far, but we need to enjoy our cricket and don’t put ourselves under pressure – they were excellent, they are both quality internationals, two of the best fast bowlers going around at the moment and they put us under pressure. They got us into hard positions, perhaps if we hadn’t lost early wickets, we could have done differently, but Delhi were outstanding and played some smart cricket. We need to concentrate on the way we play and try to improve,” SRH captain Williamson said after the loss against DC in Dubai.
Meanwhile, last season’s runner’s up, Delhi, is at the top of the points table with seven wins and two losses. Both DC and SRH are next in action on Saturday (Sept. 25). While DC take on Rajasthan Royals (RR) in Abu Dhabi, SRH head to Sharjah to face off Punjab Kings (PBKS).