Sweating over the likelihood of missing skipper Virat Kohli for the first few matches, Royal Challengers Bangalore received a second blow with in-form wicketkeeper-batsman KL Rahul likely to miss the entire IPL-10 season.
Sources said the 24-year-old local talent — India’s second highest run-getter in the recent Test series against Australia — is likely to travel to England next week and go under the knife for his left shoulder injury, which he endured for the most part of the series.
Rahul, who dislocated the shoulder in Pune during the opening match of the four-Test series, batted through the next three matches with pain. This restricted his shot selection.
Rahul, who moved from Sunrisers Hyderabad to RCB last season, was the team’s third-highest run-getter after Kohli and AB de Villiers with 397 runs from 12 innings. In the absence of Kohli, RCB would have looked to Rahul to shoulder the top-order responsibilities alongside Chris Gayle and De Villiers. But the absence of their star batsman would add pressure on domestic batsmen like Sarfaraz Khan and Mandeep Singh to step up.
Another area that will be hit is wicketkeeping. Last season, Rahul replaced Maharashtra’s Kedar Jadhav as the wicketkeeper-batsman in the squad after the first four matches. With the injury woes compounding, RCB has already started looking for replacements, with coach Daniel Vettori expected to have a look at some uncapped players in Bengaluru on Sunday. While Rahul’s recovery period is unclear, the Karnataka player will hope to be fit in time for the Champions Trophy in England in June, followed by a tour of Sri Lanka — three Tests, five ODIs and one T20 — in July-August. RCB officials were unavailable for comment.