Delhi Capitals have signed up South Africa’s Anrich Nortje to replace Chris Woakes in their squad for the upcoming season of IPL. The thirteenth edition of the tournament is scheduled to start from September 19 with the final to take place on November 10. The entire competition will be held in UAE because of the coronavirus situation in India.
Originally, the tournament was to start from March 30 and conclude on May 17. However, the BCCI was compelled to suspend it indefinitely in the light of the pandemic. Delhi Capitals had roped in Chris Woakes for INR 1.5 crore. But earlier this year, he had announced his withdrawal from the season, which was scheduled to begin on March 30, to “prolong my England career”.
“I just feel like I’d been on a bit of a treadmill and I needed to get off for a bit of a breather. From a mental point of view it’s about recharging those batteries,” he had said then. “The IPL is great but I’ve been there and done it. That’s not to say I don’t want to do it again but at this moment England is the most important thing to me, as well as spending time at home with the family where I can.”
But the reason for his withdrawal from the upcoming tournament is not known. While announcing Nortje as the replacement, Delhi Capitals did not reveal the reason behind the England star’s withdrawal. Media reports suggest that health concerns could be the reason behind Chris Woakes’ withdrawal.
Meanwhile, the upcoming season will be Nortje’s first in IPL. He was a part of Kolkata Knight Riders’ squad for the last IPL but could not play a single game because of a shoulder injury. He had bagged his maiden IPL contract after impressing in the inaugural edition of the Mzansi Super League, South Africa’s T20 competition.
“I am excited to join the Delhi Capitals, a team that was the talk of the tournament last season,” Nortje said in a statement issued by Capitals. “With its exciting mix of experienced and young players, and a stellar coaching line up, there is no doubt this is going to be a massive learning experience for me. I am grateful to the Delhi Capitals management for giving me this opportunity.”
Nortje has so far played six Tests, seven ODIs and three T20Is for South Africa after making his international debut last year. His addition has further bolstered the Delhi Capitals’ attack which already boasts the likes of Kagiso Rabada, Keemo Paul, Ishant Sharma and Mohit Sharma.