KL Rahul, Punjab Kings’ regular skipper is doubtful to rejoin the league anytime soon even as his team is expecting him to return to action within a week or 10 days after going under the knife in a Mumbai hospital.
Since the IPL is being held in a bio-secure bubble, there is a quarantine period that KL Rahul may have to serve if he does not get an exemption. It may rule him out of the entire tournament, which will conclude on May 30.
KL Rahul’s Absence May See Chris Gayle Or Dawid Malan Opening Alongside Stand In Skipper Mayank Agarwal As Prabhsimran Singh Failed
Punjab Kings’ stand-in captain Mayank Agarwal says the Punjab Kings management have not yet discussed if explosive Chris Gayle or Dawid Malan would open the innings alongside him in the absence of KL Rahul, who needs surgery to treat acute appendicitis.
“That’s something (Gayle or Malan) we have to speak about but for the moment this is the strategy that we went with and we got a decent score. May be probably 10 runs short,” said Mayank Agarwal at the post-match press conference after losing to Delhi Capitals on Sunday night.
Mayank Agarwal hit a majestic unbeaten 99 but his opening partner Prabhsimran Singh contributed only 15. Chris Gayle (13) and Dawid Malan (26) batted at number three and four respectively as Punjab Kings lost the match by seven wickets after making 166 for six.
Mayank Agarwal was again non-committal when asked if overseas players can be reshuffled to let someone like Moises Henriques play regularly.
“That’s something we will think about, going ahead. With Delhi’s batting, we needed firepower to get the wickets, that was lacking. We back our bowlers to do that for us,” he said.
KL Rahul’s absence saw Mayank Agarwal captaining as he said it was not tough to play the captain’s role but admitted that the responsibility does change the approach towards the game.
“I had been kept in the loop. Throughout the season we were there in meetings. There was enough time to prepare. We turned up decently, would have liked more aggression though. When you play as a batsman, you don’t think like a captain, you execute your role as a player. When you are captain and batting, you want to take extra responsibility,” he said.
Mayank Agarwal’s unbeaten 99 is the 2nd best score on a captaincy debut in IPL, only next to Rajasthan Royals’ Sanju Samson score of 119 which he had scored against PBKS this season.
PBKS captain KL Rahul, who had scored an unbeaten 91 against RCB, was rushed to a hospital in Mumbai after being diagnosed with acute appendicitis, and Mayank Agarwal was named as his replacement. KL Rahul was the leading run-scorer with 331 runs.
Shimron Hetmyer Credits Coach Ricky Ponting For Backing Him
Delhi Capitals’ Shimron Hetmyer said a helpful environment in the dressing room inspires all to do well and that has been a factor for the team’s good show.
“That plays a part. It always helps when you go in, with a clear mind and coach is backing you. Most times it comes out positively for us,” he said.
He also emphasized the supporting role being played by head coach Ricky Ponting.
“(There is) positivity. (He) gives you freedom to express, backs you. Keeps pushing you to do your best. I like him.”
“This year it’s like being comfortable in environment. You can be yourself. I was nervous first year, last year was not getting much chance.”
Hetmyer said it is not that challenging for players to play at two different venues.
“Players should be able to adjust, assess situation, conditions and play accordingly,” he said.
Asked about his learning so far from the IPL that may help him in his national duty, Hetmyer said, “I am trying to be more consistent, keep that positivity. In West Indies team, I bat a bit higher, I try to play less shots.”
Shimron Hetmyer heaped praises on his coach Ricky Ponting for giving everyone the freedom to express themselves in the best way possible, adding “that is the one thing I like about him”. He has played 23 matches amassing 359 runs averaging 25.64. In IPL 2021, he scored exactly 84 runs in 6 games as he has been unbeaten on 5 occasions.