IPL 2017: Shane Watson to captain Royal Challengers Bangalore in Virat Kohli's absence
AB de Villiers won't take part in the opening game of IPL 2017.
Former Australian all-rounder Shane Watson has been named as captain for the Royal Challengers Bangalore for the start of IPL 2017. Watson will captain the Bangalore franchise till regular skipper Virat Kohli recovers from his shoulder injury.
The RCB camp has been hit hard by injuries: apart from Kohli, KL Rahul and Sarfaraz Khan are set to miss the campaign, while AB de Villiers is carrying a back injury which forced him to miss out the final of the Momentum Cup in South Africa.
Watson has previously captained the Rajasthan Royals side, and has received the Player of the Tournament award twice.
In a statement released a day before the start of the first game, the franchise that Kohli will miss the opening few games of the tournament. They also added: “In the interim, Shane Watson, will lead the RCB team as the stand-in captain. Shane has been one of the top performers and a great mentor for the team, making him an ideal choice to lead the team this season till Virat is back on field”.
There were talks about De Villiers being made the RCB captain during Kohli’s absence, but a back injury, that requires an additional few days’, means that Watson will have to take over the duties.
Kohli injured his shoulder while fielding during the Ranchi Test in the recently concluded India-Australia Test series. The 28-year old was forced to sit out of the decider at Dharamsala, and stated in the post-match talk that he was still “a few weeks away from match fitness”. Kohli was the leading run-getter in IPL 2016, scoring a mammoth 973 runs with four centuries against his name.
Watson had joined the RCB camp in 2016, having been bought by the franchise for Rs. 9.5 crore in the auctions last year. He was previously part of the Rajasthan Royals side.
The 35-year old retired from international cricket last year, with the World T20 being his last series. He was last seen representing the Islamabad United team in the recently concluded Pakistan Super League.
Before being sidelined with injury, AB de Villiers was representing the Titans in his country’s domestic ODI tournament, before a back injury forced him to miss out on the finals. He is travelling with the RCB squad and trained with them, and is expected to be fit in time for the second game.
Bangalore begin their campaign with their opening game against Sunrisers Hyderabad on April 5.
Watch Shane Watson’s century in the 2015 IPL for the Rajasthan Royals against KKR (Video Courtesy: Star Sports)