The 12th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) is all geared up to commence from March 23 with Chennai Super Kings locking horns with Royal Challengers Bangalore in what promises to be a highly entertaining opener at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai.
Ahead of the exciting curtain raiser between CSK and RCB, the captains of all the eight IPL franchises had gathered for the official photograph along with the IPL trophy.
Among the captains, MS Dhoni of Chennai Super Kings, Dinesh Karthik of Kolkata Knight Riders, Virat Kohli of Royal Challengers Bangalore, Ajinkya Rahane of Rajasthan Royals, Ravichandran Ashwin of Kings XI Punjab, Rohit Sharma of Mumbai Indians, and Shreyas Iyer of Delhi Capitals were present at the occasion.
However, last year’s runner ups Sunrisers Hyderabad sprung a major surprise by putting forward Bhuvneshwar Kumar instead of last year’s captain Kane Williamson to represent the IPL franchise for the official photograph.
This has presented a curious case forward whether Williamson would be part of the playing XI this season. The New Zealand captain is yet to report back to the SRH squad. Earlier in the month, he had picked up a serious shoulder injury, during the second Test against Bangladesh in March.
The grade 1 tear to his left pectoral minor muscle meant that Williamson was expected to miss the first few IPL matches for SRH.
However, his absence from the photograph hints that the franchise might handover the captain’s duties to Indian pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar in the absence of Williamson. This is despite the former skipper David Warner returning the team for the IPL 2019.
SRH’s mentor and former Indian batsman VVS Laxman had earlier clarified that Williamson will be donning the role of the skipper in the 12th edition of IPL. He had also hailed the Kiwi batsman for stepping up last year in Warner’s absence, who was banned owing to the ball tampering charges.
“Kane (Williamson) is an outstanding batsman & also a highly respected international player. He has stepped in for us last year & has shown good leadership qualities,” Laxman said in an interview to the Times of India.
SRH will play against Kolkata Knight Riders in their campaign opener at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Sunday.