What’s the story?
With Virat Kohli most likely to miss the first few matches of the Indian Premier League due to an injury he picked up during the recently concluded India-Australia Test series, a massive void would be felt in Royal Challenger’s Bangalore batting line-up. However, coach Daniel Vettori feels that there are a lot of batsmen on the bench who could fill the void left by Kohli.
“Fortunately, we have a number of exceptional batsmen who haven’t got many playing chances, like Sarfaraz Khan and Mandeep Singh,” he said. “It’s a huge asset for us that someone else can fill in those gaps. Sarfaraz has been really good. At the back end of the domestic season he started to put some runs on the board. Everyone knows how talented he is. With possible injuries, he could get an opportunity early on in the tournament,” he continued.
In case you didn’t know...
During the third Test between India and Australia in Ranchi, Virat Kohli hurt his shoulder while trying to save a boundary during the first inning’s of the match. He immediately left the field, did not field for the rest of the innings, and was eventually ruled out of the final Test as well.
During a press conference which was held in Bangalore ahead of the tournament, Vettori confirmed that AB De Villiers would take over as captain if Kohli misses the first few matches.
Sarfraz Khan came into the limelight with a few impressive performances with the bat during the end of RCB’s campaign in 2015. However, he batted in only two innings in RCB’s run to the final last year and was asked to work on his fitness. He was phenomenal for the Under-19 cricket team as well in the world cup held last year as he ended as the second highest run-getter in the tournament.
Mandeep Singh too has been quite impressive for the Bangalore side and even made his debut for the Indian cricket team against Zimbabwe last year. He’s had a decent first-class record with an average of 44.15 with 4018 runs to his name.
Sarfraz has been a revelation of sorts and with his ability to play an agressive brand of cricket, he would come in handy in RCB’s batting line-up in the absence of Kohli. With the form and promise that he has showed in the past, he should feature in the starting XI even when Kohli makes a return and play the role of a finisher in the squad.
Furthermore, it will be extremely interesting to see how RCB fare without Kohli in the first few matches of the tournament and whether AB De Villiers would be able to handle the pressure of captaincy of the star-studded team.