IPL 2023 is set to kick-start on March 31 with the opening match scheduled to be played between Chennai Super Kings and Gujarat Titans. However, the South African players will not be able to play in the initial matches of the league as they have to play ICC World Cup Qualifier matches. In such a case, instead of Quinton de Kock, the team Lucknow Super Giants will need an opener.
In absence of de Kock, either West Indies southpaw Kyle Mayers or India's star player Deepak Hooda is likely to open the innings with KL Rahul during the first two matches of the 16th edition of the tournament.
LSG will face Delhi Capitals on April 1 in Lucknow to open their campaign at the mega tournament. While LSG will be missing de Kock, their first-match opponents DC will be without the services of Anrich Nortje and Lungi Ngidi.
"In the case of De Kock, the best option is Kyle Mayers, who is also a left-hander and has a decent strike rate of close to 135 in T20Is. On Sunday, he was brilliant against South Africa during his 27-ball-51. So Mayers is favourite to partner Rahul in first two games," a source privy to developments in LSG camp told PTI on conditions of anonymity.
The Proteas will be playing two ICC World Cup qualifier 50-over matches against the Netherlands on March 31 and April 2. Because of this, none of their top players will be available for their respective IPL teams in the first two games.
If the Lucknow side wants to strengthen their middle-order or bowling side with overseas players, then Hooda could face the new ball alongside the skipper. Hooda has scored a century for India opening the innings in T20Is and has been impressive with the bat during the powerplay. Mohsin Khan, who is currently doing rehabilitation with the team's 'Strength and Conditioning' unit, is expected to be ruled out of at least the first phase of the tournament but the team management feels that he could be available in the second phase.