IPL 2021: SRH to replace Natarajan with Umran Malik
Sunrisers Hyderabad have signed Jammu and Kashmir pacer Umran Malik as a short-term replacement for T Natarajan. Notably, Natarajan tested COVID-19 positive ahead of SRH's match against Delhi Capitals in the Indian Premier League on September 22 and is currently in isolation. Meanwhile, Malik has been with the Orange Army as a net bowler in the UAE. Here are the key details.
Umran has played one List A match so far, giving away 98 runs from his 10 overs and claiming a wicket. This was against Bengal in the Vijay Hazare Trophy. He has played one T20 match as well, picking up 3/24 at an economy rate of just six. The T20 match was against Railways in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy.
"Under the Regulation 6.1 (c), franchises 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," the IPL media release stated.
Earlier, Natarajan went to isolation along with six other members of the SRH contingent - including all-rounder Vijay Shankar and net bowler G Periyaswamy. These six members were identified as close contacts. However, the match between SRH and DC was, however, allowed to go ahead on schedule. SRH went on to lose the match by eight wickets against DC.
Natarajan is currently asymptomatic and isolated himself from the rest of the squad. The left-arm pacer tested positive for COVID-19 after a scheduled RT-PCR test at 5 AM local time on Wednesday morning. Earlier this month, the fifth Test between India and England was canceled after a couple of personnel were found COVID-19 positive inside the Indian camp.
Malik isn't the first player this season to be roped in as a short-term replacement. Earlier this season, all-rounder Shams Mulani was a replacement player for Axar Patel, who had tested positive for COVID-19.
Back in May 2021, the IPL season was suspended indefinitely by the BCCI after several players tested positive for COVID-19. The pandemic had hit the league even before it commenced on April 10. Several groundsmen and a few players had tested positive. However, the IPL Governing Council decided to proceed with the season. However, the council decided to pull the plug after cases erupted.