The Rajasthan Royals have signed West Indies opening batter Evin Lewis and fast bowler Oshane Thomas as replacements for Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes, for the second leg of IPL 2021, which will run from September 19 to October 15 in the UAE.
Lewis is West Indies' fifth-highest run-getter in T20Is, with 1318 runs, including 103 sixes. Only Chris Gayle (121) has hit more sixes for West Indies in T20I cricket. Lewis is currently part of St Kitts & Nevis Patriots in the ongoing CPL 2021 at Warner Park, where he has started the tournament with scores of 6,62 and 30.
This will be Lewis' first stint with the Royals and second overall in the IPL, having been part of the Mumbai Indians side in 2018 and 2019.
For Thomas, this will be his second stint with the Royals in the IPL; he played four games for the franchise in 2019, taking five wickets at an economy rate of 7.90. Thomas will be the second player from the Barbados Royals in the CPL to join the Rajasthan Royals for the second chunk of IPL. Earlier this month, New Zealand's Glenn Phillips was lined up as a replacement for Jofra Archer.
Thomas can regularly hit speeds upwards of 140kph and most recently at the CPL, he bowled Gayle with a 142kph dart. With the absence of Buttler and Stokes, the Royals will now be without three of their England stars. While Buttler has opted out due to the impending birth of his second child, Stokes has taken an indefinite break from the game for mental-health reasons. Archer is the other absentee, with an elbow fracture ruling him out of cricket for the rest of the year.
The Royals, placed fifth in the points table, will resume their IPL 2021 campaign against the Punjab Kings on September 21.