Bangalore, Mar 30: Defending champions Kolkata Knight Riders have named all-rounders Azhar Mahmood and Johan Botha as replacements for James Neesham and Chris Lynn, both of whom will be missing the eighth season of the IPL, which will start on April 8, due to injuries.
While a hamstring tear has sidelined Lynn, New Zealand all-rounder Neesham hasn't yet completely recovered after pulling out with a stress fracture in his back. The Knight Riders will also be missing out on the services of Bangladesh spin bowling all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan for a majority of the IPL, as Bangladesh host Pakistan from April 17 to May 10.
Botha was in Rajasthan Royals player when they were captained by Shane Warne in the first season of IPL before he moved to Delhi Daredevils in 2013. After a dip in performance, he went out of favour among the Indian franchises and wasn't picked in the 2014 and 2015 main auctions. The 32-year-old will now be looking to make this opportunity count.
Former Pakistan all-rounder Mahmood has scored 3,922 runs and taken 241 wickets in the 213 T20s he has played so far. He played exceptionally well for Kings XI Punjab in 2012 and 2013 editions, scoring 382 runs and picking up 29 wickets.
Venky Mysore, the CEO and MD of Kolkata Knight Riders congratulated Johan Botha and Azhar Mahmood's inclusion to the team on twitter.