Shreyas Iyer’s untimely back injury has turned out to be a cause of concern for his IPL franchise Kolkata Knight Riders, with the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2023 not very far away. The right-hander is captain of the two-time title-winning franchise and the Knights have pinned many hopes on the 28-year-old for their success in the upcoming season. Indian captain Rohit Sharma said that Iyer’s injury was not looking good after he had missed out on the last two days of the drawn Ahmedabad Test in the Border Gavaskar Trophy. Now, according to a report in the Times of India, Iyer might miss the first half of IPL 2023 because of his injury. Shreyas Iyer Ruled out of India vs Australia ODI Series, Confirms Fielding Coach T Dilip.

It would be a big blow indeed for KKR if Iyer is to sit out of the first half of IPL 2023. But Iyer missing out can also pave the way for other players in the team to step up and guide the team, potentially impressing as well with their leadership skills. Here are three players who can lead KKR in IPL 2023 if Iyer is to miss out on the first half of the competition.

Nitish Rana: This might raise a few eyebrows, but Rana is a favourite to be named KKR captain in the absence of Shreyas Iyer. The left-hander, who has captained Delhi in domestic cricket, has had leadership experience. Plus, the fact that he is a mainstay in the team and all likelihood will play all of KKR’s matches (unless there’s an injury) and has been part of the franchise for a long time, can work in his favour, if Iyer is to get ruled out. KKR IPL 2023 Schedule: Kolkata Knight Riders Matches in Indian Premier League Season 16 With Full Time Table and Venue Details.

Sunil Narine: Having played for KKR throughout his IPL career, he has established himself to be one of the greats of the tournament and the franchise. He has been part of all two of KKR’s IPL-winning squads and is one of the team's main stars going ahead into the next season. He can be a pick for captaincy, given the fact that he, too will likely play all the matches for KKR. He recently captained the Abu Dhabi Knight Riders in the International League (IL) T20 but did not have a good time. Shakib Al Hasan can also be a potential captaincy choice, given his experience with leadership but the fact that he is not guaranteed to start all the games might work against him. Kolkata Knight Riders Team in IPL 2023: Players Bought by KKR at Mini Auction, Check Full Squad.

Tim Southee: The pace bowler took up the reins of New Zealand’s Test team and led the Black Caps to two of their most memorable wins in recent times—against Engand and Sri Lanka. The Kiwi pacer is also a potential captaincy option but he is not guaranteed to be starting all the matches for the franchise, with KKR having signed his national teammate Lockie Ferguson. He had a decent outing for the Knights last season and can be named captain if Iyer is to miss out.

Andre Russell could have been a potential captaincy candidate. There's no doubting his impact for the franchise but the fact that he is prone to injuries might work against his favour. KKR had failed to qualify for the playoffs last year and would hope for an improved performance this season, which can see them get closer to a third title.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Mar 15, 2023 09:52 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website