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IPL 2017: Shane Watson ready to open for RCB in Kohli and Rahul's absence

Chris Gayle and Shane Watson opening the innings would send shivers down the spines of any opposing bowler.

Shane Watson
There might yet be a silver lining for RCB amidst the injury cloud

What’s the story?

Royal Challengers Bangalore might not have Virat Kohli or KL Rahul to open the innings at the start of IPL 2017 but Australian all-rounder Shane Watson admitted that he is more than happy to take up the mantle of opening the innings.

Having played as an opener for Rajasthan Royals and for a large part of his T20 career, Watson admitted that he is happy to bat anywhere for RCB, especially after news that AB de Villiers also has a back issue ahead of the tenth edition of the IPL.

Speaking about his potential new role, Shane Watson said: “I think my role will change a little bit, which is great. I'll get a chance to bat at the top of the order now, which I've done most of my career. I'm happy to bat anywhere but if I get to bat up, I'll enjoy that as well. I keep helping people whenever I can. There won't be much of a change as I keep doing that every time I get a chance.”

Extra Cover: IPL 2017: BCCI confirm Virat Kohli will miss start of IPL 10

The Context

Ahead of IPL 2017, RCB have some serious injury concerns. KL Rahul, who was their third-leading run scorer in IPL 2016 has been ruled out with a shoulder issue that needs surgery. Captain Virat Kohli will miss the first two weeks with a shoulder problem. AB de Villiers, who is set to lead in place of Kohli, has a back problem that ruled him out of a domestic game but according to the side, isn’t serious enough to cause too many more problems.

The Details

In IPL 2016, Virat Kohli opened the innings with Chris Gayle and in his absence are left without an opener at the start of the season. Injury to KL Rahul as well, who is another opener means they are left with just Mandeep Singh as the other specialist opener.

Shane Watson has opened the innings for Australia and in the IPL as well, for his previous side, Rajasthan Royals, so he isn’t new to the job. And he is incredibly successful as well, so that is an option for RCB to try out until the squad is fully fit.

Extra Cover: KL Rahul ruled out of IPL 2017 with shoulder injury

What’s next?

RCB, who finished as runner-up in IPL 2016 begin their campaign in a repeat of last year’s final as they take on Sunrisers Hyderabad on April 5.

Author’s Take

With Kohli and Rahul out injured, Watson is a definite option for opener at the start of the season. While AB de Villiers and Mandeep Singh can also open the innings, with the experience and the options the Australian all-rounder provides, it almost becomes a no-brainer.

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