IPL 2023: Lockie Ferguson, Rahmanullah Gurbaz traded from Gujarat Titans to Kolkata Knight Riders (ld)

New Zealand’s right-arm fast bowler Lockie Ferguson and Afghanistan wicketkeeper-batter Rahmanullah Gurbaz on Sunday were traded from Gujarat Titans to Kolkata Knight Riders ahead of IPL 2023.

The trade marks the reunion of Ferguson with Kolkata after being part of the franchise from 2019-21. While Ferguson was acquired by Gujarat for INR 10 crores in the IPL 2022 mega auction, Gurbaz was included in their squad as a replacement for England opener Jason Roy.

Ferguson, whose first experience with the IPL was with now-defunct Rising Pune Supergiant in 2017, played 13 matches for Gujarat Titans in their run to the IPL 2022 trophy and picked 12 wickets at an economy of 8.95, with the best figures being a four-wicket haul against the Delhi Capitals. Gurbaz, on the other hand, did not get to play any game last season.

“As Lockie and Gurbaz get set to start a new journey at the Kolkata Knight Riders, we wish them the very best. Both players leave behind unforgettable memories. Lockie’s four-wicket haul against Delhi Capitals is a performance we will always remember. While Gurbaz did not play a game, his promise and talent was evident right through,” said Vikram Solanki, Director of Cricket, Gujarat Titans, in an official statement from the franchise.

In 26 T20Is for New Zealand, Ferguson has picked 39 wickets at an average of 17.30 and economy rate of 7.15. He picked up seven wickets in five matches for New Zealand’s in their Men’s T20 World Cup campaign in Australia, which ended in a semi-final loss to Pakistan. In 35 T20Is for Afghanistan, Gurbaz has scored 896 runs at an average of 25.6 and strike-rate of 138.27.

The signings of Ferguson and Gurbaz will bolster the fast-bowling and wicket keeping departments of Kolkata. Apart from Ferguson, Kolkata have fast bowlers in fellow countryman Tim Southee, Australia’s Test as well as ODI captain Pat Cummins, Indian duo of Umesh Yadav and Shivam Mavi.

In IPL 2022, Kolkata revolved between Sam Billings, Sheldon Jackson and B Indrajith as their wicketkeeper, with none of the trio turning out to be a long-term option. Gurbaz’s addition, along with his opening the batting skill sets, could help Kolkata immensely in the 2023 IPL.

Earlier, on Saturday, Australia’s left-arm fast bowler Jason Behrendorff was traded from Royal Challengers Bangalore to Mumbai Indians. He was acquired by Bangalore in the 2022 IPL Auction for his base price of INR 75 lakhs, but did not feature in a single game throughout the competition.

In the 2023 edition of the IPL, he will be representing Mumbai Indians, for whom he had previously played in 2018 and 2019. Though he couldn’t play in the IPL 2018 due to a back injury, Behrendorff returned for the 2019 title-winning season for MI and picked five wickets in as many matches, averaging 33.00 at an economy rate of 8.68.

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