Kolkata Knight Riders have suffered a major blow ahead of the IPL 2023 with their captain Shreyas Iyer unlikely to play in the first half of the tournament. Iyer was ruled out of the fourth Test against Australia in the Border Gavaskar Trophy due to a back injury and had to miss the following ODI series as well.
According to a report by ESPNcricinfo, Iyer has opted against the surgery for his recurring lower back injury as he wants to explore other options before going under the knife. The report reveals the 28-yr old batter has been given six injections to ease the pain and has been advised to rest.
“Iyer's issues, it is learned, concern a bulge in one of the discs in his spine, which has resulted in an impinged nerve. The nerve runs along the right leg and has caused shooting pain in Iyer's calf, which is compounded by mobility issues. It is understood that Iyer has been given six injections in the recent past to help numb the pain in his back,” the report stated.
It is learnt that there is no definite timeline on Iyer's return to action but he continues to be supervised by the BCCI medical staff at the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru. Iyer's IPL franchise Knight Riders have lent him all the support and are hopeful that their captain will be available for the second half of the IPL.
“Iyer has told the BCCI medical staff that he wants to explore options before taking the final call on surgery. He has also received full support from the Knight Riders management who helped him consult an Ayurveda specialist for a non-intrusive alternative medicine,” the report added.
Iyer has played 101 matches in the IPL and has scored 2776 runs at an average of 31.55 while striking at 125. He was bought by KKR in the 2022 IPL auction for a huge sum of ₹12.25 crore and was chosen as the captain.
KKR's search for the interim captain
While Shreyas Iyer continues his rehab, Kolkata Knight Riders will need to find a stand-in skipper in his absence. The management has started mulling over possible options. Nitish Rana and Sunil Narine are understood to be the frontrunners.
Narine has been an integral part of KKR since 2012 and has recently led Abu Dhabi Knight Riders in the ILT20. It wasn't a great stint for Narine as the team finished at the bottom of the six-team tournament with only one win and eight losses.
Nitish Rana has captained Delhi in Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 Trophy, winning eight and losing four games.
The KKR management is also thinking about some other factors as well such as who can be a better man manager and communicator. Narine has been known as a quiet person which could go against him. Rana has one thing in his favour, that is being an Indian. Overseas captains can be a tricky business as it locks an overseas spot and allows less room for flexibility. KKR have experienced that in the past when Eoin Morgan was leading the side.
Lockie Ferguson doubtful for the first few games
In another blow, KKR could well be without their fast bowler Lockie Ferguson for the first few games due to a hamstring injury. The speedster was supposed to play New Zealand's first ODI versus Sri Lanka on March 25 before heading to India but has opted to sit out. New Zealand bowling coach Shane Jurgensen confirmed the news that Ferguson pulled up with concern after his first-class fixture for Auckland.
“Post the four-day game he played for Auckland, some stiffness started to occur. Over the course of the last week, it’s been determined and he felt that a 50 over game with the demand on his body, for the team it’s best he sits out this one,” said Jurgensen.