Kolkata Knight Riders are definitely one of the most popular and followed teams in the Indian Premier League and the two times IPL title winners have some of the most popular faces of the sport. The franchise though have not been able to get over the line recently and will definitely look to clinch the title for the third time.
KKR management came into the 2020 IPL auctions with one of the highest purse money as they released many of their main players, namely- Robin Uthappa, Chris Lynn and Piyush Chawla. The decision was taken as the franchise was looking for an experienced middle-order batsman to accompany the star West Indian Andre Rusell and also a strike bowler.
They did manage to do a great job by roping in the Australian speedster Pat Cummins for a whopping 15.5 crores, making him the most expensive foreign player. English captain Eoin Morgan was purchased for 5.25 crores.
Kolkata Knight Riders Squad
Dinesh Karthik (C), Shubman Gill, Sunil Narine, Tom Banton, Nitish Rana, Rinku Singh, Rahul Tripathi, Nikhil Naik, Siddhesh Lad, Eoin Morgan, Andre Russell, Chris Green, Kuldeep Yadav, Varun Chakravarthy, M Siddharth, Pat Cummins, Harry Gurney, Lockie Ferguson, Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Prasidh Krishna, Sandeep Warrier, Shivam Mavi
Probable playing Xl for KKR
Openers (Shubman Gill and Sunil Narine/Tom Banton)
Shubman Gill is one of the most watched upcoming players in the country. He was the go-to batsman for the India U-19 team at the crucial no.3 spot. The 21-year old had a decent last season and will surely be looking forward to showcase his true potential especially with the ICC T20 WC coming up in the near future.
One of the most successful and foxy decisions by the former KKR captain Gautam Gambhir was to promote the off-spinner Sunil Narine to open the innings. The cricket world was surprised by the decision as Narine was not known to be an opener but rather a spinner. To the surprise of many the West Indian striked the ball as good as an opener would do and he was seen dominating the bowlers in the powerplay ever since.
Though, KKR now have an specialist opener in the form of Tom Banton who is known to strike the ball really hard and was recently making all the headlines in his country for his effortless stroke play and hard-hitting ability. It could be interesting to see if they can fit in Tom Banton at the top-order, but will come at the cost of pulling out Sunil Narine, which could not prove a wise decision for the management as Narine is a genuine match-winner.
Middle order (Rahul Tripathi, Eoin Morgan, Nitish Rana and Dinesh Karthik)
The 29-year old Rahul Tripathi should be feeling really unfortunate as he was not given many games during his two seasons with Rajasthan Royals and KKR would definitely be looking forward to utilising his experience and will take up the crucial No.3 spot.
The English Captain is one of the best additions to the KKR line-up as his experience is match to none. HIs hard-hitting combined with the ability to rotate strike at will makes him one of the best batsman in the world. The 34-year old can also give the much needed support for Dinesh Karthik in the captaincy department.
NitIsh Rana has become the face of KKR and he seldom disappoints. He was one of the highest run-getters for the franchise in the last season and will be looking forward to replicating the same performance this time around. Given that he can also roll his arm at times he makes the perfect No. 5 for KKR.
The captain will be taking up the role of the finisher which he has been doing a wonderful job recently. His experience will prove to be really vital for the team and his partnerships with Andre Rusell could prove deadly for the opposition. Though the 35-year old does have a point to prove as he was heavily criticised for his captaincy. But the management going ahead with Karthik ahead of Eoin Morgan shows the belief they have in the wicket-keeper batsman.
All-Rounder (Andre Rusell)
The winner of the MVP award in 2019, The West Indian Star Andre Rusell is almost the dream player any team would love to have in their line-up. The 32-year old had an amazing season last year scoring 510 runs at a spectacular average of 57 and jaw-dropping highest strike-rate in that season of 204. He is also a very good floater who can absolutely dominate the bowlers at any given batting position. Given that he wins games single-handedly with the bat for KKR, his added ability to bowl makes him stand out as one of the greatest T20 players ever.
With the ball Rusell managed to pick up 11 wickets in the last season. He is also undoubtedly the best fielder in the side.
Bowlers (Pat Cummins, Sandeep Warrier, Kuldeep Yadav and Prasidh Krishna)
The 27-year old Pat Cummins became the most expensive foreign player in the history of IPL when he was bagged by the KKR for a whopping 15.50 crores. Though not much experienced at the IPL, the Australian has been the spearhead for his country and has been leading the bowling attack for some time now. With such a price tag, KKR will be expecting him to showcase his maximum potential combined with his experience to guide his bowling partners Sandeep Warrier and Prasidh Krishna.
Both Sandeep Warrier and Prasidh Krishna are relatively inexperienced in IPL but have played a lot of domestic cricket. The experience will do them all good for the upcoming season. The 24-year old Prasidh Krishna did not have an all that good season last year but he did show his incredible ability to handle pressure especially at the death overs. GIven more opportunity, both the upcoming stars could definitely turn out to be match winners for KKR.
Kuldeep Yadav is already considered to be one of the best upcoming off-spinners of India. The combo of Sunil Narine and Kuldeep Yadav could prove a deadly one for the opposition especially because of the number of the variations they have in their arsenal. The 25-year old though had a very bad season to his standards in 2019 and will be looking forward to turning the tables in his favor this time.
Cover Credits: CircleofCricket