Padikkal, who has tested positive for COVID-19, is likely to miss RCB's first few matches and as a result Azhar could open the innings along with Kohli.
Both Karnataka and Kerala have 12 points from four matches. Kerala take on Bihar in their final Elite Group C match on Sunday.
The wicketkeeper-batsman was bought by RCB for his base price of Rs 20 lakh.
Kerala's outstation professional Jalaj Saxena was picked up by Punjab Kings for his base price of Rs 30 lakh.
With 61 slots across eight franchises up for grabs, Royal Challengers Bangalore has the maximum, 11 vacancies, to fill with a purse of Rs 35.4 crore.
Leggie Rojith is the surprise entry, while pacer Sreesanth missed out.
Young Kerala opener Mohammed Azharuddeen, who smashed a 37-ball 100 against Mumbai in the Mushtaq Ali Trophy, is also in the fray.
Royals, with Sanju at the helm, will be tempted to rope in young opener Mohammed Azharuddeen. However, other teams too will be keen on signing 'Junior Azhar'.
The opener shot into limelight recently with his 37-ball 100 in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy T20 match against Mumbai.
The blistering knock against the formidable Mumbai is expected to make him a hot property in the IPL auction next month.