Rajat Patidar, the rising star of Royal Challengers Bangalore’s IPL 2022, is in doubt for at least the first half of the upcoming season due to a heel injury. Patidar is currently undergoing rehabilitation at the NCA in Bengaluru.
ESPNcricinfo understands that Patidar has been advised to rest for the next three weeks before an MRI determines his participation in the second half of the competition. He was injured before joining the camp and will need a clearance from the NCA before linking up with Royal Challengers.
Patdar’s absence could force Royal Challengers to rethink their batting combination. With him in the mix, Mike Hesson, the franchise’s director of cricket, had stated after the auction that Virat Kohli would continue to open the batting with Faf du Plessis. The injury now potentially means Kohli could drop back to three with one from Finn Allen or Anuj Rawat starting with du Plessis.
Patidar was not selected in last year’s mega auction, but came on as a mid-season replacement following an injury to goalkeeper Luvnith Sisodia.
He announced his arrival in the Eliminator by hitting the fastest hundred by an Indian in tournament history, an inning rated by ESPNcricinfo panelists as the best in men’s franchise cricket in 2022.
Patidar finished the season as Royal Challengers’ third-highest run-scorer, behind du Plessis and Kohli. He made 333 runs in seven innings at a strike rate of 152.75. His IPL exploits coupled with stellar returns in a Ranji Trophy-winning campaign with Madhya Pradesh earned him a place in India’s ODI squad during their home summer last year.
Patidar’s unavailability isn’t the only concern for Royal Challengers. There are also questions about Josh Hazlewood’s involvement. The Australian fast bowler is currently recovering from Achilles tendonitis.
He flew home halfway through the Border-Gavaskar Trophy in February after missing the first two Tests. Hazlewood’s fitness will be closely monitored given that Australia has the World Test Championship final and the Ashes will take place immediately after the IPL ends on May 28.