What’s the story?
South African batsman AB de Villiers has confirmed his unavailability for the opening game of the 2017 Indian Premier League against the Sunrisers Hyderabad at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad on Wednesday.
Taking to the Twitter handle to reveal the news, the 32-year-old expressed disappointment and wished the team, to be led by former Australian all-rounder Shane Watson and the rest of the squad the very best for the game.
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The right-hander was set to lead the Royal Challengers Bangalore in the absence of Virat Kohli, who was still recovering from the shoulder injury that he sustained during the third Border-Gavaskar Test against Australia in Ranchi.
However, a day after the announcement was made, news arrived on de Villiers was rested by his domestic side- the Titans- for the 50-over final, raising concerns over his availability for the opening game and more.
The heart of the matter
The large fan base of the RCB breathed a huge sigh of relief when the cricketer announced his arrival on Indian shores, again via Twitter on Monday and hoped for him to play in the opening game.
Since that now isn’t happening, Watson, who has led the Rajasthan Royals in the past, will take the mantle of captaincy and look to put forth his best shot, leading the side minus both Virat Kohli and de Villiers.
In such a scenario, the role of Chris Gayle even more significant as the responsibility to get the team off to a good start and help them post a big total.
Daniel Vettori and the rest of the team will now have to fill the gap vacated by de Villiers and ensure the four foreigners that they opt for, do the job for them on the day. The roles of not just Gayle, but Watson, Tymal Mills and others increase dual fold now with de Villiers absence.
The decision to sit out from the opening game is the right one since it allows de Villiers more time to recover fully from the injury. After the opening game, the team play their second game on the 8th of April and the team will hope he returns for the match against the Delhi Daredevils on home base on Saturday.