SHANE Watson has been named interim captain of Royal Challengers Bangalore following injuries to Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers.
Having sustained a shoulder strain during the third Test against Australia, Kohli has been ruled out of the early stages of this year's Indian Premier League.
Coach Daniel Vettori had named de Villiers as Bangalore's interim captain in place of Kohli but the South African has now been scratched out of the first match of the season with a back niggle.
De Villiers is expected to be fully fit for Bangalore's second game of the season but Watson will remain captain until Kohli returns to playing duties.
"Virat Kohli, the RCB captain, will be missing the first few matches of the Indian Premier League owing to an unfortunate shoulder injury," RCB chairman Amrit Thomas said.
"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 until Virat is back on field."
This is not the first time Watson has been handed the reins to a Twenty20 team. He skippers the Sydney Thunder and has captained Australia's national T20 side. He also has captaincy experience in the IPL, having led the now suspended Rajasthan Royals before stepping aside for Steve Smith.
The absence of De Villiers and Kohli absence means RCB will be without its top three run-scorers from last season, as KL Rahul has been ruled out of the entirety of the tournament with a shoulder injury.
In further bad news for RCB faithful, exciting young batsman Sarfaraz Khan is "most likely" to be unavailable for the season.
Sarfaraz, 19, injured his leg sliding for a ball during a practice game on Monday.
Bangalore begins its season on Thursday (12.30am AEST) against reigning champions Sunrisers Hyderabad.
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