Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
The Royal Challengers Bangalore have confirmed that AB de Villiers will assume the role as captain if Virat Kohli should miss any games in the upcoming edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL).
Kohli, who is nursing a right shoulder injury, is likely to miss the first few games of the tournament after admitting that “it’s still a few weeks to go before I can be 100% on the field”.
The Indian skipper sustained the injury while fielding during the first day of the third Test against Australia in Ranchi.
When asked about Kohli, Royal Challengers head coach Daniel Vettori insisted that it remains unclear when the 28-year-old will return.
“He [Kohli] will come in on April 2. Between now and then, the BCCI doctors and physio will speak to us (on his condition) and our medical staff will get a clearer picture,” Vettori said. “Right now, we don’t have a clear picture on his availability. We’ll know in the next few days.”
De Villiers, who leads South Africa in ODIs, will only arrive in Bangalore on April 2 as he will represent Titans in the Momentum One Day Cup final on Friday. But, should Kohli be out of action for the foreseeable future, Vettori confirmed that De Villiers will take over the leadership role.
“The likely scenario is that De Villiers will take over the duties but we’ll answer that once we find out if Virat is out,” Vettori said.
Kohli was the top-scorer in last year’s IPL as he amassed 973 runs, which included four centuries and seven fifties, at an average of 81.08 in 16 matches.
Despite this, Vettori is backing Mandeep Singh or Sarfaraz Khan can get the job done should the Royal Challengers be without Kohli.
“Fortunately, we have a number of exceptional batsmen who haven’t got many playing chances like Sarfaraz Khan and Mandeep Singh,” Vettori said. “It’s a huge asset for us that someone else can fill in those gaps.”