MUMBAI Australia all-rounder Shane Watson has been named interim captain of Indian Premier League's Royal Challengers Bangalore team in the absence of Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers, who are recovering from injuries.
Bangalore will be without regular captain Kohli for at least the initial phase of the Twenty20 tournament as the India skipper recovers from a shoulder injury that forced him to miss the series-sealing final test win over Australia in Dharamsala.
De Villiers was set to lead the side in Kohli's absence but the South African was ruled out of the team's opening game of the season on Wednesday.
De Villiers missed the final of South Africa's domestic one-day tournament last week with a back injury.
"AB De Villiers has travelled well," RCB coach Daniel Vettori said in a statement. "However, he still has some minor discomfort and we felt that couple of days off would be best before we have him back in action.
"We hope to see him on the field in good form by 8th April match against Delhi Daredevils."
Bangalore, who have already lost Australia paceman Mitchell Starc to injury, will also be without Lokesh Rahul for the entire tournament, with the India opener likely to undergo surgery on his left shoulder.
Batsman Sarfraz Khan was added to the side's injury list when he suffered a leg problem during practice on Monday and the 19-year-old appears likely to sit out of the April 5-May 21 tournament.
"Virat Kohli, the RCB captain will be missing the first few matches... owing to an unfortunate shoulder injury," the team added. "His presence on field is dependent on him passing the fitness tests and we hope for a strong recovery for him.
"In the interim, Shane Watson, will lead the RCB team as the stand-in captain. Shane has been one of the top performers and a great mentor for the team, making him an ideal choice to lead the team this season till Virat is back on field."
(Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly; Editing by John O'Brien)