Former Australia skipper Ricky Ponting said that the shoulder injury to KL Rahul has played a big role in Royal Challengers Bangalore’s (RCB) horror campaign in the ongoing tenth edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL).
Predicting how RCB have gone from 2016 finalists to IPL 2017 cellar-dwellers in the IPL, Ponting said although poor form of key players like Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers and Chris Gayle can be the obvious reason behind the team’s downfall, the absence of Rahul could not be avoided.
The 42-year-old, who was in charge of Mumbai Indians in 2015-16, pointed out that Rahul and Kohli was a pretty formidable opening pair last year and, therefore, the absence of one of them is a massive loss for the RCB.
“KL Rahul is a massive loss for them. He had a terrific back-end to last season. He did some amazing things last year, so him not being at the top has been a big loss,” cricket.com.au quoted Ponting as saying.
“He and Virat were a pretty formidable opening pair last year. You couldn’t argue with what they did last year and they’ve played a bit of cricket with each other in the Indian Test team for the few months leading in to the IPL. So they would have had a good dynamic there at the top of the order and unfortunately that’s been missing for them,” he added.
Rahul, who averaged 44 in last year’s IPL, was ruled out of the ongoing IPL season as well as from the Champions Trophy after sustaining the shoulder injury during the four-match Test series against Australia in March.
The right-handed batsman opened the batting in six matches for the RCB last season, having scored more than 35 on four occasions, behind also impressing batting at No.4 spot when West Indies swashbuckling batsman Gayle returned to the side to open.