Australia pacer Mitchell Starc was ruled out of the 11th season of the Indian Premier League beginning a week Saturday, after an injury to his right leg forced him to miss the fourth Test against South Africa that started on Friday.

Captain Tim Paine said at the toss on Friday that Starc had been “battling some injuries throughout the tour” and had been rested from the final Test. But Cricket Australia’s website later stated that his injury was a stress fracture and that he would fly home after the Test for further assessment. His absence ensured that rookie pacer Chadd Sayers earned his first Test cap.

Starc has a “tibial bone stress in his right leg”, Cricket Australia announced, thereby dealing a huge blow to the Kolkata Knight Riders with just eight days to go before the season starts.

Persistent injuries had forced Starc out of the 2016 campaign too, where he was contracted with the Virat Kohli-led Royal Challengers Bangalore. Before the start of the 2017 season, RCB parted ways with Starc, who ruled himself out of the season.

A new-look Kolkata Knight Riders this season will be captained by Dinesh Karthik. The franchise had splashed out Rs 9.4 crore for the Australian pacer during the auction.

Starc is the third high-profile Australian to be ruled out of the lucrative tournament following the cancellation of the contracts of Steve Smith and David Warner, both banned by Cricket Australia for their part in the ball tampering controversy during the South African Test series.

Starc was man of the match in the first Test in Durban but only took three wickets for 304 runs in the next two Tests.

With inputs from AFP