RCB's Virat Kohli-Faf du Plessis opening pair strategy could be affected as key player set to miss 1st half of IPL 2023
The player's absence may force RCB to rethink their strategy of opening with Virat Kohli and Faf du Plessis
Royal Challengers Bangalore director of cricket Mike Hesson had stated during the auction that the franchise will be looking to stick with their opening combination of captain Faf du Plessis and Virat Kohli in the 2023 season of the Indian Premier League (IPL). With Kohli seemingly getting close to being back at his best in T20 cricket last year, RCB would have been hoping that they would get a strong and reliable opening pair for the season but Hesson had stated that they would go for it knowing that they have Rajat Patidar in the middle order.
However, Patidar is likely to miss the first half of the 2023 Indian Premier League with an injury. The RCB star has reportedly sustained a heel injury and has been advised to take rest for three weeks. Patidar is currently rehabilitating at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bengaluru. Then injury could hence force a rethink in strategy RCB with regards to their opening partnership unless they find a way to fill up the spot that Patidar would leave empty.
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The 29-year-old was key to RCB's campaign last season, getting picked as a replacement halfway through the season. He ended up smashing the fastest century by an Indian in the tournament's history in the Eliminator. Patidar finished the season as the third highest run getter for RCB behind captain Fad Du Plessis and Virat Kohli, having made 333 runs in seven innings at a strike rate of 152.75.
Patidar's injury comes amidst doubts over Josh Hazlewood's availablity for RCB. The Australian fast bowler is currently recovering from Achilles tendonitis. He flew home midway through the Border-Gavaskar Trophy in February after missing the first two Tests. Hazlewood's fitness is going to be monitored closely, given Australia have the World Test Championship final and the Ashes coming up immediately after the IPL ends on May 28.