Kohli doubtful for IPL start

Cricket : Protean de Villiers to lead RCB in early phase

Kohli doubtful for IPL start
 Royal Challengers Bangalore are set to miss the services of their talismanic skipper Virat Kohli for the early part of the Indian Premier League after the ace batsman said he needs more time to recover from the right shoulder injury.

The Indian skipper missed the final Test in Dharamsala against Australia after injuring his shoulder badly while fielding in the third Test at Ranchi. Although Kohli came out to bat in the second innings at Ranchi and even marshalled the troops as Australia forced a draw, he looked in pain and sat out of the decider after failing to recover.

“It’s still a few weeks to go before I can be 100 percent on the field,” Kohli said at the post-match presentation. “But these things happen in your career. Got to take it in my stride and move forward.”

Later speaking at the press conference, Kohli revealed very little of the injury that looks more threatening than it originally appeared. “It’s not fine as of now but I don’t know exactly… But the physio will give an official statement soon about the time span.”

Kohli’s absence is a big blow to RCB. Kohli, who engineered a stunning turnaround last year where the team ended as runners-up for a third time, hammered a jaw-dropping 973 runs, including four centuries and seven fifties. Kohli will likely undergo rehabilitation at the National Cricket Academy sometime soon here.

With Kohli out, RCB, who kick-start their campaign against champions Sunrisers Hyderabad on April 5 (the opening day of the event), will be led by former South African skipper A B de Villiers. The Protean, a huge crowd favourite in India, will join the squad on March 31 following a franchise one-day tournament in South Africa.

Meanwhile, all-rounder Shane Watson and coach Daniel Vettori have already joined the team. Opener Chris Gayle and England T20 specialist pace bowler Tymal Mills were expected to land on Tuesday night. Other players have been checking in separately and preparations will kick off in full blast on March 30.

RCB also had a soft skills camp from March 22-26 under the supervision of assistant coach B Arun.

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