Shikhar Dhawan, who missed Punjab Kings’ last match due to a shoulder injury, is likely to miss the side’s Indian Premier League (IPL) fixture against Royal Challengers Bangalore on Thursday.
The 37-year-old underwent a fitness training test in the King’s training session on the eve of the match, and bowling coach Charl Langeveldt said that though Dhawan is on the mend, he might not be ready for a return just yet.
“I am not the physio. He is on the mend. He is doing well for his rehab. He is feeling better, but he is not just there yet. The process is going to take a while,” Langeveldt said.
While Dhawan’s absence will be a huge blow for the home team against a star-studded RCB, Langeveldt revealed that Liam Livingstone, who is yet to play a game, will be available for selection.
On a batting-friendly surface, Livingstone could come in handy with his power-hitting ability.
The two teams come into the game with contrasting fortunes. While RCB lost a close game against Chennai Super Kings, PBKS defeated Lucknow Super Giants, riding on significant contributions by Sikandar Raza, Matthew Short and Shahrukh Khan.
It will be interesting to see how Punjab bowlers - Arshdeep Singh, Kagiso Rabada and stand-in captain Sam Curran - tackle the RCB batters.
With skipper Faf du Plessis and Virat Kohli opening the innings, and Glenn Maxwell at No.4, RCB has a strong batting lineup. Shahbaz Ahmed and Dinesh Karthik add depth to the middle-order.
The batting order, as strong as it may seem on paper, has been plagued by inconsistency.
Placed eighth with four points from five matches, RCB will need to fix its weak links if it wishes to stay in the hunt for a playoff berth.
With Mohammed Siraj, Harshal Patel and Wayne Parnell around, RCB has a formidable fast bowling department, and Josh Hazlewood’s return after his rehabilitation could make it even more potent.
PBKS has won five of its last six outings against RCB, and would hope to maintain the upper hand.
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