In a major blow to the Kolkata Knight Riders and Indian cricket team, Shreyas Iyer has been ruled out of IPL 2023 and the World Test Championship final. The captain of KKR will undergo back surgery and will be sidelined for a few months.
Iyer had been named in India’s ODI squad for the 3-match series against Australia but was ruled out before the opener. He had to leave the Ahmedabad Test due to a recurrence of a back injury, which has now led to the need for surgery.
Reports on the Skipper’s Injury
Iyer’s injury concerns a bulge in one of the discs in his spine, which has resulted in an impinged nerve causing shooting pain in his calf, and mobility issues. The BCCI’s medical staff will continue to supervise Iyer’s progress at the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru for the foreseeable future. There is, however, no definitive date of return marked yet.
It’s worth noting that Iyer, 28, first experienced discomfort in his lower back last December after the Bangladesh tour. He then missed out on selection for the ODI series against New Zealand at home and the first Test against Australia. However, he returned to play the second and third Tests of the Australia series, only to suffer a relapse during the final Test in Ahmedabad, where he didn’t bat in India’s only innings in the match.
Statements on Iyer’s Injury
India skipper Rohit Sharma addressed Iyer’s injury in a press conference, admitting that the scans ‘didn’t look good’. However, he also highlighted the potential of Suryakumar Yadav, who is being considered as Iyer’s replacement at the No. 4 spot in the team.
“Surya has shown a lot of potential in white-ball cricket,” said Rohit. “Guys with potential need to be given enough rope at that particular slot. Yes, he has got out in the last two games and in the previous series as well. But he needs to be given a consistent run.”
Meanwhile, Kolkata Knight Riders will need to find a new skipper in Iyer’s absence. Andre Russell is considered a top contender for the role.
In addition to Russell, Sunil Narine, and Nitish Rana are reportedly among the frontrunners for the interim captain role. But the franchise is still deliberating on who could be the best overall package, taking into account man-management skills, communication, and leading the team under pressure.
Narine, who has been with Knight Riders since 2012, led Abu Dhabi Knight Riders recently in the inaugural season of the ILT20 in the UAE, where they finished bottom of the table. On the other hand, Rana has led Delhi in 12 T20s in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, with eight wins and four defeats.
As for the World Test Championship final, Iyer’s injury might open up space for Sarfaraz Khan, a domestic cricket hero who has been ignored by India’s Test team for a while now.
With less than 10 days to go for the tournament, KKR will have to move quickly to find a suitable replacement for Iyer and identify a new captain who can lead the team in his absence in the IPL.