In absence of Quinton de Kock, either West Indies southpaw Kyle Mayers or the flamboyant Deepak Hooda is likely to open the innings with skipper KL Rahul during Lucknow Super Giants' first two games in this edition of the IPL. (More Cricket News)
With the South African team playing two ICC World Cup qualifier 50-over games against the Netherlands on March 31 and April 2, none of their top players will be available for their respective IPL sides in the first couple of games.
Hence, LSG will be missing their regular opener de Kock, while their first match opponents Delhi Capitals will be without the services of Anrich Nortje and Lungi Ngidi.
LSG will take on DC on April 1 in Lucknow and then fly to Chennai for their next game against Chennai Super Kings.
"In 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.
In case, LSG wants to beef up their middle-order or bowling arsenal with overseas recruits, then there is a case for talented Hooda to face the new ball alongside his skipper.
Hooda has already scored a century for India opening the innings in T20 cricket and has shown that he can be an enforcer in the Powerplay overs with his improvisation skills.
Mohsin Khan, who is currently doing his rehabilitation with LSG's strength and conditioning unit, is expected to miss at least first leg of the tournament but team think-tank feels he might be available for the second phase.
Jaydev Unadkat is the closest like-for-like replacement of Mohsin, although the Saurashtra veteran neither has the pace nor the lethal blockhole delivery like the UP man.
During the course of the tournament, Jammu and Kashmir's Yudhvir Singh Charak or Vidarbha's Yash Thakur, both of whom have made an impression at training sessions might be tried out depending on team's situation and pitch conditions.
DC TO MISS ALL FOREIGN PACERS IN FIRST TWO GAMES
In the case of the Capitals, they are likely to miss their entire foreign pace unit during the first two games as Mustafizur Rahaman will also be unavailable due to Bangladesh's ongoing series against Ireland.
Nortje and Ngidi are in the Proteas squad to play the Netherlands, while Kagiso Rabada will also be absent for Kings XI Punjab as he will also be on national duty.