Shreyas Iyer will undergo surgery on his lower back in London and the Kolkata Knight Riders’ regular captain will miss the entire IPL and the World Test Championship final against Australia at The Oval in June.
The middle-order batter had opted for rest and rehab on the advice of a specialist in Mumbai when the National Cricket Academy (NCA)’s sports science and sports medicine unit had preferred surgery on his lower back.
But with no improvement and respite from pain, Shreyas has decided to go for surgery after exhausting all possible options. No timeframe has been set for his return but it is likely that he will be sidelined for around three months.
Hardik Pandya too had his back surgery in London, while Prasidh Krishna and Jasprit Bumrah had headed to New Zealand for their surgeries. The injury is believed to be the result of a bulged disc and is different from the stress fracture the two pacers suffered.
The injury first flared up during the series in Bangladesh last December and was treated at the NCA. That ruled him out of the white-ball series at home against Sri Lanka in January as well as the first Test of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy in February. Then, after returning to action, he again missed the final Test of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy and the ODI series following a sudden recurrence of back pain during the third Test.
The Kolkata Knight Riders had remained hopeful of his return for the second half of the IPL, but will now have to alter plans and seek replacements for both Shreyas and Shakib-al Hasan, who opted out citing international and family commitments.
Shreyas would have been fit earlier if he decided to adhere to the advice of the NCA last month and not delayed the call on surgery. Going under the knife is considered to be a long-term solution for those who experience such injuries.
This means Nitish Rana, who was named interim Knight Riders captain ahead of IPL 2023, will continue to lead the franchise. They lost their opening match to Punjab Kings and will face Royal Challengers Bangalore at Eden Gardens on Thursday. There was, however, some good news as Lockie Ferguson is fit and will be available for selection at the Eden.
Narine ‘at home’
KKR spinner Sunil Narine said he feels at home while playing at Eden Gardens and reckons the crowd enhances the intensity.
“It’s something special. You feel at home, playing at Eden Gardens... It’s more like a comfort zone where you know what to expect rather than being unsure of what is going to happen,” said the mystery spinner.