Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) batter Rajat Patidar is likely to miss the first half of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2023 due to a heel injury.
As per the ESPNCricinfo, the batter is currently undergoing rehab at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bengaluru. He has been advised to take rest for three weeks following which an MRI scan will determine his participation in the second half of the league. Having sustained the injury before joining the preparatory camp, he will need a clearance from NCA before he links up with RCB.
His absence could cause RCB to rethink on their batting combination. With Patidar in the mix, RCB Director of Cricket Mike Hesson had said after the IPL auction last year in December that Virat Kohli would continue opening with skipper Faf Du Plessis. The injury now means that Kohli could bat at number three, with either young New Zealand talent Finn Allen or uncapped Indian wicketkeeper-batter Anuj Rawat likely to serve Du Plessis as his opening partner.
Patidar went unsold in the mega auction for IPL 2022, but came into the side as a replacement for wicketkeeper Luvnith Sisodia, who sustained an injury. He smashed the fastest century by an Indian in tournament history, scoring 112* off 54 balls against Lucknow Super Giants in the eliminator, which his side won. His century came in just 49 balls.
He scored 333 runs in seven innings with a century and two fifties at an average of 55.50 and a strike rate of 152.75. His exploits in the league coupled with his stellar form in the title-winning Ranji Trophy campaign in 2021-22, where he scored 658 runs in six matches with two tons and five fifties, earned him a spot in India's ODI squad in the summer last year.
Patidar's availability is not the only thing concerning RCB. There are doubts over pacer Josh Hazlewood's status for the tournament as he is currently recovering from Achilles tendonitis. He flew back home to Australia midway during the Border-Gavaskar Trophy after missing the first two Tests. His fitness will be monitored closely as Australia will face India in ICC World Test Championship final on June 7 and will lock horns with England in the Ashes series from June 16 onwards.
RCB will start their Indian Premier League (IPL) 2023 season with a match against Mumbai Indians (MI) at their home arena, M Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bengaluru.
Last year, RCB qualified for playoffs and finished fourth in the competition after losing to Rajasthan Royals in qualifier 2 by seven wickets.
Royal Challengers Bangalore: Squad strength: 25 players (overseas 8)
Players bought during IPL 2023 auction - Reece Topley (INR 1.9 crore), Himanshu Sharma (INR 20 lakh), Will Jacks (INR 3.2 crore), Manoj Bhandage (INR 20 lakh), Rajan Kumar (INR 70 lakh), Avinash Singh (INR 60 lakh).
Players retained - Faf du Plessis (c), Virat Kohli, Suyash Prabhudessai, Rajat Patidar, Dinesh Karthik, Anuj Rawat, Finn Allen, Glenn Maxwell, Wanindu Hasaranga, Shahbaz Ahmed, Harshal Patel, David Willey, Karn Sharma, Mahipal Lomror, Mohammed Siraj, Josh Hazlewood, Siddarth Kaul, Akash Deep. (ANI)