New Delhi, Mar 25 (IANS): Right-hander batter Rajat Patidar, who had an impressive outing for Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in IPL 2022, is doubtful for at least the first half of the upcoming season due to a heel injury.
According to an ESPNcricinfo report, Patidar is currently undergoing rehab at the NCA in Bengaluru and has been advised to rest for the next three weeks. An MRI scan will decide his participation in the second half of the tournament.
"He picked up the injury prior to joining the camp, and will need an NCA clearance before linking up with Royal Challengers," the report said.
The 29-year old batter's absence could force RCB to rethink their batting combination. With him in the mix, Virat Kohli would continue to open the batting with Faf du Plessis. However, it will be now interesting to see whether Kohli bats at number three with one of Finn Allen or Anuj Rawat opening with du Plessis, or if the former India captain plays as an opener.
Notably, Patidar wasn't picked at last year's mega auction but came in as a replacement midway through the season following an injury to wicketkeeper Luvnith Sisodia. He finished the IPL 2022 as the third-highest run-scorer for RCB, behind du Plessis and Kohli, scoring 333 runs in seven innings at a strike rate of 152.75.
Apart from Patidar, there are also doubts over the participation of Josh Hazlewood, who is currently recovering from Achilles tendonitis.
The Australian fast bowler 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 as Australia have the World Test Championship final and the Ashes coming up immediately after the IPL ends on May 28.