Missing in Action: Key players who won’t be seen in early matches

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The 15th season of IPL starts on Saturday with a blockbuster clash between the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) at the Wankhede stadium here. However, the two teams will miss few of their key players during the IPL 2022 opener.

In fact, not only the CSK and KKR, most of the IPL franchises will miss the services of their key players for various different reasons. After an exciting mega auction in February, most of the teams had assembled a strong first XI, but they may not always have their best 11 players available all through the season.

With the international calendar jam-packed, with some players recovering from injury and also due to some logistical issues, almost every team will miss some of their recruits in the early part of the IPL season. Here’s a look at the player availability for each team.

Mumbai Indians

Stylish batter Suryakumar Yadav is set to miss Mumbai’s opening match against Delhi Capitals on March 27. He picked up a hairline thumb fracture in the final T20I against West Indies and is yet to be released by the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru, where he has been undergoing rehab.

Chennai Super Kings

Super Kings pacer Deepak Chahar is set to miss a large part of IPL 2022 due to a quadriceps injury.

The franchise will also be without all rounder Moeen Ali for their first match on March 26, against Kolkata Knight Riders. Due to his visa issues, Moeen landed late in Mumbai on the morning of March 24, and will need to undergo a mandatory three-day quarantine before joining the squad.

On the other hand, CSK will also miss the services of South Africa’s Dwaine Pretorius in their opening game as he finished playing the ODI series against Bangladesh at home only on March 23.

Kolkata Knight Riders

England opener Alex Hales was picked by the KKR during the IPL auction but he pulled off from the IPL 2022 citing bubble fatigue. Thereafter, KKR named Australia’s limited-overs captain Aaron Finch as Hales’ replacement. However, with Australia’s white-ball series against Pakistan to conclude on April 5, Finch will not be available for the first handful of games.

On the other hand, Pat Cummins is understood to fly back to Australia after the Pakistan Test series to attend Shane Warne’s memorial on March 30. He will join the side after serving the mandatory three-day quarantine and should be available for their fourth match, on April 6.

Meanwhile, Kiwi pacer Tim Southee, who got married earlier this week and joined the IPL bubble late, will miss Saturday’s game. Later, he may also have to miss the playoffs and the final, should Knight Riders make it that far, with New Zealand set to begin a three-match Test series in England on June 2.

Sunrisers Hyderabad

Apart from Australia pacer Sean Abbott, who will miss the first three games due to his national commitments, the rest of the players are available.

Rajasthan Royals

The ODI series between Bangladesh and South Africa ended on March 23. So, Proteas batter Rassie van der Dussen, who was part of South Africa’s ODI series against Bangladesh, should be available for Royals’ first game on March 29.

Royal Challengers Bangalore

The newly married Glenn Maxwell will miss at least the first two games, while Josh Hazlewood and Jason Behrendorff are set to miss the first three matches for RCB as the Australian players will only be released after April 6, according to an ESPNcricinfo report.

Delhi Capitals

David Warner will be unavailable for Capitals’ first two games and Mitchell Marsh for the first three. On the other hand, Lungi Ngidi and Mustafizur Rahman were part of the South Africa-Bangladesh ODI series and they could also miss the first match since Delhi will play their first match on March 27.

However, the bigger concern for Capitals is Anrich Nortje’s fitness. He has been dealing with hip and back issues, and while he joined Capitals’ squad on Sunday, it is understood he is likely to sit out the first few matches.

Punjab Kings

Kagiso Rabada is likely to miss Kings’ opening match as he was part of South Africa’s ODI series against Bangladesh.

On the other hand, batter Jonny Bairstow is in the West Indies with England’s Test side and is likely to miss the first two games. With England set to play New Zealand in early June, Bairstow could also be unavailable for the final if Kings make it that far.

Lucknow Super Giants

Pacer Mark Wood was ruled out of the 2022 season after picking up a right elbow injury on England’s tour of the West Indies and Australian Andrew Tye has replaced him in the squad.

Jason Holder and Kyle Mayers are expected to be available only after the first week of the IPL as they are part of West Indies’ Test squad against England. They will miss Super Giants’ first two matches. Marcus Stoinis, who is part of Australia’s white-ball squads for the Pakistan tour, will miss the third match as well.

Gujarat Titans

Afghanistan wicketkeeper-batter Rahmanullah Gurbaz has replaced England batter Jason Roy, who withdrew due to bubble fatigue. West Indies quick Alzarri Joseph, who is playing the third Test against England, will miss the first game against Super Giants.

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