Finger injury rules Faf du Plessis out of IPL

After having injured his finger while fielding against Sunrisers Hyderabad on Tuesday, Du Plessis was diagnosed with a finger fracture and has been ruled out for six weeks.

Faf du Plessis has already left for home.   -  KVS Giri

As if Kevin Pietersen being ruled out of the IPL early on wasn’t a blow severe enough for Rising Pune Supergiants. Now, the IPL debutants will have to deal with opener Faf du Plessis’ unavailability for the remaining season.

After having injured his finger while fielding against Sunrisers Hyderabad on Tuesday, Du Plessis was diagnosed with a finger fracture and has been ruled out for six weeks. The Protean, in fact, has already left the Supergiants camp, thus leaving a big question mark over the team combination ahead of the team’s home game against table-toppers Gujarat Lions on Saturday.

“Faf has gone back to South Africa. It’s not an ideal situation, we would have liked to have a settled combination. But these injuries mean more changes,” said Supergiants head coach, Stephen Fleming, on Thursday.

With 176 runs in six innings, including two fifties, Du Plessis is placed at the second place in the Supergiants’ top run-scorers.

Du Plessis’ injury may result in the Supergiants captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni being promoted in the batting order. With Du Plessis and Pietersen being ruled out; Steve Smith not being at the peak of his form and the uncertainty over the date of arrival of Usman Khawaja — as Pietersen’s replacement — has made the Supergiants’ middle order little thin. It has left too much burden on the shoulders of Ajinkya Rahane, the consistent opening batsman.

While Fleming wasn’t averse about Dhoni being promoted, he stressed on Dhoni being at his best in the role of a finisher.

“Look, we have been through this for years now. There are different roles to Dhoni, the first and most effective is closing an innings,” Fleming said.

“But the team is not just going to sit around Dhoni. We have got Morkel, (Thisara) Perera, (Mitchell) Marsh, who have got hitting abilities. The captain might want to use those resources. You can’t structure your batting where he always walks in (early).”

Dhoni has faced just 66 balls in the tournament so far and Fleming indicated that the team has factored with the fact that he hasn’t been getting as much time in the middle as the team would ideally like to.

“Yes he is one of the most destructive in the world, but there is also an opportunity where he can be sent down (the order),” Fleming said.

“We always want to be smart. We don’t want one of the best power hitters in the game sit there and be wasted … It’s about what is right for the team and what is right for Dhoni.”

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