Matthew Kelly
Matthew Kelly (Getty Images)

Kolkata Knight Riders have replaced injured fast bowler Anrich Nortje with Australian rookie Matt Kelly for the ongoing season of Indian Premier League (IPL).

Kelly is a 24-year-old right-arm fast bowler, who was born in Durban, South Africa before moving to Perth aged four and represents Western Australia in domestic cricket.

In 16 first-class so far, he has 54 wickets at 25.66 including three five-wicket hauls. Apart from that, he has also played in five List A matches taking nine wickets in them at 22.77 with 4/25 being his career-best show.

He plays for Perth Scorchers in the Australian T20 competition Big Bash League, which they have won four times. When it comes to the shortest formats, he has played in 12 T20s and taken 19 scalps at 18.00 and has a decent economy of 7.43.

Former Australia batsman and national selector Mark Waugh had even backed the pacer to make the World Cup squad if their first-choice pacers failed to attain full fitness for the tournament.

“A lot depends around the fitness of the fast bowlers — Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Jhye Richardson’s done his shoulder — so there’s three question marks in the bowling department,” Waugh told Sky Sports. “I’d have Mitchell Starc in there. Josh Hazlewood, I probably wouldn’t have him in the squad. I’ve got Jhye Richardson in if he’s fit. If he’s not fit I’ve got one bolter from Western Australia, Matt Kelly, who no one’s spoken about.

He added, “One thing we do lack slightly is a really good death bowler — a guy who can bowl yorkers at the end of the innings and he’s really good at that. He played for the Scorchers and WA. He’s a bit of a smoky but I’d have him the mix.”

KKR have been struggling with injuries to their fast bowlers. Ahead of the season, they lost the services of Indian pair Shivam Mavi and Kamlesh Nagarkoti before losing Nortje – all through injuries. Nortje was bought by KKR at his base price of INR 10 lakh at the IPL auction in December.

Kelly is the latest replacement announced by the two-time IPL winners who earlier called up Sandeep Warrier and KC Cariappa in place of Mavi and Nagarkoti.

KKR, who are currently sitting at the second spot in the points tally, next host Delhi Capitals at Eden Gardens on Friday.