Sitting glued on the couch, donning your favourite team’s jersey, chanting names of players and breaking into a roar when your favourite team grabs a wicket. The 16th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) promises to be another exciting affair with a total of players who will look forward to going in with a renewed spirit when they take on their global counterparts to stake their claim on the elusive IPL 2023 trophy. Chennai Super Kings and Gujarat Titans are set to clash in a blockbuster opening match of the IPL on March 31 at the prestigious Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad.
All ten teams have their preparations in full swing as a few franchises are busy scouting replacements for injured players. Meanwhile in a major blow to the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) camp, captain Shreyas Iyer could reportedly be out of IPL 2023 owing to the recurrence of a back injury.
Team India dealt a massive setback in the fourth and final Test of the recently-concluded Border-Gavaskar Trophy when Iyer did not come out to bat after complaining of severe pain in the lower back region. When asked if there was an improvement in his health, captain Rohit Sharma stated his injury does not look at the moment.
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Iyer’s recurring back injury led him to miss the ODI series against New Zealand earlier this year. According to the latest developments, Iyer could also be forced to miss the 1st ODI between India and Australia. The 28-year-old sustained swelling in his lower back after India`s Test series win over Bangladesh last year. The lanky right-hander has represented India in 42 ODIs in total. He made his India debut against New Zealand at Delhi in 2017, having amassed overall 1631 runs for India in 42 ODIs.
Although Iyer may not miss out on the entire IPL season, he will be ruled out of the first few fixtures, forcing KKR to consider other captaincy options. Mystery spinner Sunil Narine has been a long-serving KKR player, having picked up 152 wickets for the franchise at a brilliant economy of 6.63 with a five-wicket haul to his name too. His contribution doesn’t end here, as he has mustered overall 1025 runs at a strike-rate of 162.7. Narine also has the experience of leading a team in other leagues too and this makes him a prime candidate to replace Iyer.
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Another name that instantly comes to one’s mind is another West Indies player Andre Russell. Feeling safe and secure at KKR, Russell has given his best for the franchise over the years and remains one of their most important players. Having been instrumental in securing several important wins for the team, the West Indies all-rounder has featured in 98 matches smashing 2035 runs at an impeccable strike-rate of 177.88 with 10 fifties to his name. He has also accounted for 89 scalps so far with a five-wicket haul to his name.