Fans were in for a surprise when former India skipper Virat Kohli walked out for the toss for Royal Challengers Bangalore in today’s IPL 2023 clash against Punjab Kings.

Kohli, who last led RCB in 2021, and gave up the India Test captaincy in January last year, was named RCB’s stand-in skipper for the game against PBKS on Thursday. Regular captain Faf du Plessis, who has been leading the franchise since 2022, would bat but not field (a move made possible by the new Impact Player rule) after sustaining an injury in his team’s last match against Chennai Super Kings on Monday (April 17). Du Plessis had confirmed his injury following RCB’s defeat to CSK, saying, “Early on in the match, when I was diving and I just hurt by rib. As the innings went on, I was in discomfort but hopefully, it is not too bad.”

However, he was unable to regain full fitness, which forced RCB to appoint another captain for the Punjab game. Kohli was chosen as captain ahead of other candidates such as Glenn Maxwell and Dinesh Karthik.

At the toss, Kohli, however, confirmed that du Plessis would play a role in the match, and would be used as an Impact Player instead while batting. “Faf potentially can’t be fielding today, so he’ll be playing as an impact player, switching with Vyshak [Vijaykumar].”

Du Plessis currently holds the Orange Cap in the league, scoring 259 runs ahead of the PBKS game. He made a 56-ball 84 against Punjab and utilising the in-form batter for his primary skills is an interesting tactical move, similar to what Mumbai Indians had done with Rohit Sharma against Kolkata Knight Riders. Resting du Plessis, who is not yet 100 percent during fielding, shows how RCB have maximised their resources with minimal risk taken.

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