Mumbai: India’s middle-order batter Shreyas Iyer, who suffered a recurrence of lower back injury during the Ahmedabad Test against Australia, is doubtful for participation in at least the first half of 2023 season of the Indian Premier League (IPL).
A report by ESPNCricinfo on Wednesday said Iyer, who was pulled out mid-way from India’s fourth Test against Australia at Ahmedabad, has opted out of surgery for injury and has been advised to rest as he continues his rehab. Iyer had missed the ODIs against New Zealand as well as the first Test against Australia due to the injury.
Though he did play in the second and third Tests against Australia, Iyer suffered a relapse of the lower back injury after day three’s play and was taken for scans. It meant he did not come out to bat in India’s only innings of the drawn Test match and was subsequently ruled out of ODIs against Australia.
The report also said Iyer experienced discomfort in back just after the tour of Bangladesh ended last year in December. “Iyer’s issues, it is learned, concern a bulge in one of the discs in his spine, which has resulted in an impinged nerve.”
“The nerve runs along the right leg and has caused shooting pain in Iyer’s calf, which is compounded by mobility issues. It is understood that Iyer has been given six injections in the recent past to help numb the pain in his back,” it added.
The report further said Iyer consulted a spine surgeon in Mumbai and was presented with two options: first was to take rest, rehab and wait for the pain to subside before resuming strength and conditioning as well as mobility exercises, followed by the second option being surgery.
“It is understood that the BCCI medical staff even consulted a London-based specialist, who had carried out Hardik Pandya’s back surgery, for a second opinion. The London expert, too, advised to stick the first option.”
“Iyer has told the BCCI medical staff that he wants to explore options before taking the final call on surgery. He has also received full support from the Knight Riders management who helped him consult an Ayurveda specialist for a non-intrusive alternative medicine,” added the report.
Kolkata Knight Riders are the two-time IPL champions of which Iyer is captain. “It is understood that there is no definitive date of return earmarked for Iyer, who will continue to be supervised by the BCCI’s medical staff at the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru through the near future. Knight Riders, though, have not given up hope, and expect their captain to be back before the halfway stage of the IPL,” further said the report.
In the absence of Iyer, Knight Riders will need a new captain at helm, especially with their first match of the tournament to be held on April 1, against Shikhar Dhawan-led Punjab Kings in Mohali.
The report said Sunil Narine and Nitish Rana are understood to be among the frontrunners for the leadership role. Narine had led Abu Dhabi Knight Riders in the ILT20, but the side finished at the bottom of the six-team tournament. Rana has captained Delhi in 12 T20s in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, with his captaincy record being of eight wins and four defeats.
“But Knight Riders are deliberating hard on who could be a better choice as an overall package: man-manger, good communicator, leading team-mates and getting the best out of them under pressure in a match situation,” it concluded.