Tim Southee has joined the Kolkata Knight Riders for the remaining 31 games of the Indian Premier League season (IPL). On Thursday, a franchise official confirmed the signing of the New Zealand pacer. Southee takes the place of Pat Cummins, who has withdrawn from the IPL second leg due to personal reasons. Southee, who had played in the IPL for six years in a row, went unsold in the 2020 auction. His most recent appearance was with RCB in the 2019 edition, when he had an economy rate of 13 in the three games he played.

In the past, Southee has played for the Rajasthan Royals, Chennai Super Kings, Mumbai Indians, and Royal Challengers Bangalore. He’ll now reconnect with former captain Brendon McCullum, who is now the head coach of the Knight Riders. In a team release, McCullum remarked, “We are happy to have Southee in our ranks. He’s a proven match-winner who’ll be a welcome addition to KKR’s already potent speed attack. We needed to add expertise and leadership to our bowling group because Cummins was unavailable, and Southee is the guy for the job.”

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 member of the team. Cummins had played each of the Knight Riders’ seven games in the opening half of this year’s IPL in India, when Covid-19 instances in several of the squad players caused a postponement, taking nine wickets and scoring 93 runs, including a career-best 66 not out that gave the Super Kings a fright in Mumbai.

The Knight Riders, who are now one slot off the bottom of the table with four points from seven games, will begin their season on September 20 in Abu Dhabi against the Royal Challengers.