In a major blow to the Punjab Kings, skipper KL Rahul has been hospitalized ahead of Sunday's clash against the Delhi Capitals.
A statement by the franchise said the wicket-keeper batsman suffered 'severe abdomen pain' on Saturday which was later confirmed to be a case of acute appendicitis.
KL Rahul will now undergo surgery and will almost certainly miss out on the next few games for the franchise.
"KL Rahul complained of a severe abdomen pain last night and after not responding to medication, he was taken to the emergency room for further tests which revealed that he was diagnosed with acute appendicitis. It will be resolved surgically and for safety measures he has been transferred to the hospital for the same," said the official statement.
At the moment, it is unclear whether KL Rahul will have to undergo mandatory quarantine after recovering, as has been the norm this season.
KL Rahul's performances so far in IPL 2021
KL Rahul is currently the Orange Cap holder in IPL 2021. In seven innings, the right-handed opener has accrued 331 runs at an average of 66.20. His form with the bat has been instrumental in the side's fifth-placed ranking in the points table.
KL Rahul had arguably his best performance in the tournament in PBKS's last match against the Royal Challengers Bangalore. His 57-ball 91, studded with seven fours and five sixes, single-handedly thrashed RCB out of the game.
The knock and the win had rejuvenated Punjab fans' hopes for a qualifier finish this season.
If needed Gayle would arguably be the most suitable option to replace KL Rahul at the helm, given his leadership experience in the shortest format.
Moreover, Mayank Agarwal, who didn't feature against RCB due to an injury, could open the batting alongside wicketkeeper Prabhsimran Singh.