Karun Nair has been named as a replacement for KL Rahul, who has been ruled out of the remainder of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2023 due to a thigh injury sustained while fielding in Match 43 against Royal Challengers Bangalore at the Bharat Ratna Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee Ekana Cricket Stadium in Lucknow. Lucknow Super Giants (LSG) announced the news on Friday, with Nair set to join the team for INR 50 Lakh. With 76 IPL games under his belt, Nair has scored 1496 runs in the tournament.

On May 1, Rahul got injured during his team Lucknow Super Giants’ match against Royal Challengers Bangalore, quickly clutching his right thigh and then limping from the field while chasing the ball to stop a boundary in the second over. He came out to bat at number eleven, unable to run and score a run off three balls he faced as Lucknow lost by 18 runs.

“After careful consideration and consultation with the medical team, it’s been concluded that I’ll be undergoing surgery on my thigh shortly. My focus will be on my rehabilitation and recovery in the coming weeks. It’s a tough call to make, but I know it’s the right one to ensure a full recovery,” said Rahul in his post on Instagram.

In IPL 2023, Rahul made 274 runs at an average of 34.25, including two half-centuries. “As the team captain, it pains me deeply not to be able to be there during this crucial period. But, I’m confident that the boys will rise to the occasion and give their best performance as always. I’ll be cheering for them from the sidelines with all of you, watching every game @lucknowsupergiants.”

“Absolutely gutted that I won’t be at the Oval next month with Team India. I’ll do everything I can to get back in the Blue and help my country. That has always been my focus and priority. @indiancricketteam,” he added.

In its official statement, the franchise said further tests and scans have confirmed that Rahul has suffered a significant tear to his tendon in the right thigh. “We are continuing to provide all possible support to KL at this difficult time and are working with him to ensure the best care on his road to recovery. However, the extent of the injury means that he is set for a lengthy layoff, which will include the remainder of this IPL season.”

“His presence on and off the field will be sorely missed by the Super Giants, as we continue our push to reach the playoffs for the second consecutive year. We can’t wait to see KL back on the field doing what he does best, and hope he gets back as soon as possible.”

Rahul’s injury means India now need to find a replacement for him in the WTC final squad, with the match against Australia to be held from June 7-11 at The Oval. As far as Lucknow is concerned, Krunal Pandya will captain the side in Rahul’s absence as the race to playoffs heats up. It is also Rahul’s second major injury after undergoing a sports hernia surgery in 2022.

“I want to express gratitude to each one of you – my fans, that gave me the strength to get back up, the LSG management and the BCCI for their promptness, and my teammates for their unwavering support during this difficult time. Your encouragement and messages mean a lot to me and motivate me to come back stronger and fitter than ever before.”

“Meanwhile, I promise to keep you all updated on my progress and hope to be back on the field sooner than soon. The last few days have been really hard, but I’m determined to come out on top. Injuries are never easy, but I’ll give it my all as always. Thank you for all the support and good wishes,” concluded Rahul.

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