The Virat Kohli-led Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) will be sweating on Navdeep Saini’s fitness as the fast bowler split his webbing during the game against Chennai Super Kings (CSK) on Sunday.
In the 18th over of CSK’s run chase, Saini tried to stop one of MS Dhoni’s shot off his own bowling but in process suffered an injury in his right thumb. Saini soon after completing his over rushed off the field and has now got stitches.
RCB physio Evan Speechly is unsure about the pacer’s recovery time which has left the management worried.
“Saini has split his webbing in the last ball there. He obviously got hit on the thumb on the right hand. He has just split the webbing over there, fortunately, we had a good hand surgeon, he stitched up nicely. So we could just monitor over the night and check it after getting ready for the next game,” Speechly was quoted as saying by ANI.
The injury is similar to what Virat suffered four years ago. At the time, the RCB skipper had eight stitches on his right hand but continued to play. He finished that IPL season with 973 runs, which is the most by a batsman in a single edition.
“Virat four-five years ago had it in Kolkata. We managed to stop the bleeding, and he smashed a 100 [113, against the Kings XI Punjab] after we got a plastic surgeon who had stitched it. Unfortunately, you cannot compare the two injuries,” Speechly explained. “Some people manage it, and some can’t.
“It’s also because Saini’s injury is on his bowling hand, so it puts a lot of pressure on him. I cannot be sure when he will be good to go. I am hoping that he will be good to play in the next game and the rest of the tournament.”
Saini has been a vital cog for RCB since the last two seasons. This year, he has so far played in all the eleven games. Though the 27-year-old has only picked up five wickets, he has been among the most economical pacers in the team, conceding just 7.95 runs an over.
In the ongoing IPL, RCB have won seven out of their 11 games and are set to make it to the playoffs for the first time since 2016, when they finished runners-up. The Challengers will lock horns with two of the top three teams – Mumbai Indians and the Delhi Capitals – in their remaining games to round off the league stage.