Kolkata: Kolkata Knight Riders on Monday named left-handed batter Nitish Rana as the team's new skipper for the upcoming season of the Indian Premier League. Rana will replace Shreyas Iyer, who is likely to undergo back surgery and is in danger of missing the entire season.
In fact, KKR's statement was an indicator that Iyer's chances of an early return to play looks improbable at the moment.
"...Nitish Rana would captain the side in the absence of Shreyas Iyer, who is recovering from a back injury. While we are hopeful that Shreyas will recover and participate at some stage in the IPL 2023 edition, we feel fortunate that Nitish, with the captaincy experience having led his state side in white ball cricket and the IPL experience he has had with KKR since 2018, will do a great job,"KKR said in a statement.
"We are also confident that under head coach Chandrakant Pandit and the support staff, he will get all the support needed off the field, and the highly experienced leaders in the squad will provide all support that Nitish may need on the field. We wish him the best in his new role and Shreyas a full and speedy recovery," it further stated.
While Rana has captained Delhi in Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, the results have been far from encouraging for the southpaw. It is understood that he would be asked to implement the strategy prepared by coach Pandit, who along with team boss Venky Mysore and former Mumbai Ranji stalwart Abhishek Nayar will be calling the shots.
It may noted that Rana was dropped by Delhi in this season's Ranji Trophy squad due to his poor show and inept technique in red-ball cricket. Rana has captained Delhi in 12 T20s in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, with eight wins and four defeats.
The 29-year old middle-order batter was bought by KKR ahead of the 2018 season and has been retained by the franchise ever since. Rana 74 matches for KKR, scoring 1744 runs at a strike rate of 135.61. KKR will open their campaign against Punjab Kings at Mohali on April 1.