Despite bragging of a star-studded squad, Kolkata Knight riders(KKR) weren’t really themselves in the preceding edition of the tournament. They had to bank heavily on their bowling quota that comprised the likes of young guns like Shivam Mavi and Kamlesh Nagarkoti who did a decent job but nothing extraordinary that could have helped Kolkata climb the ladder of the championship.
Despite coming close to the threshold f making the cut for the playoffs, KKR couldn’t cross the final hurdle and bowed out of the fray with their heads held low in dudgeon. This will be more of a reason for the Knights to batten up their hatches especially in the auction to ensure the fact that their glory days under the leadership f Gautam Gambhir doesn’t simply become a historical figment in the rusty pages of IPL’s history.
One of their major jugulars in the preceding couple of editions of IPL was their quota of Indian players. Despite fine-tuning a few youngsters, they failed to reap the most out of these ambitious sportsmen and that resulted in the onus being shifted to the shoulders of the experienced campaigners. Like the way Andre Russell single-handedly carried the Knights in 2020, their new skipper, Eoin Morgan bailed them out of ignominy in multiple occasions in the recently concluded 2020.
Given their lack of good gentry of Indian players, it is quite expected that the management will be hellbent to draft a few decent Indian names in the side that can propel their chances of making the cut for the play-offs.
With eight slots available for the Indian players in the Kolkata ranks, we will take a look at five Indian monikers that Kolkata must sign this summer.
One thing that the Kolkata fans didn’t like in the preceding edition of the tournament was the unavailability of proper batting expertise at least until number 6. The Knights discerned Narine as a proper batsman and were eventually playing five recognized batsmen in the hunt. Lack of all-rounders also created a significant difference in the ranks.
Sanjay Yadav is an unheralded moniker from Tamil Nadu who plays for Meghalaya who boasts of a scintillating 254 not out in first-class cricket as his career-best. In T20 cricket he has a healthy batting average of 27.93 that comes with a breezy strike rate of 123. He is also known for rotating his arm by a good deal as he has 77 scalps next to his name in the domestic circuit. In the recently concluded Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, he posted a fine display for Meghalaya with the ball in his hand.
His inclusion in the squad can provide some support to Kolkata towards the tail-end of the innings and his presence will also mean a good deal of aid to the soaring Varun Chakravarthy.
Despite failing to impress in the last edition of IPL that was held in the UAE, Shivam Dube has found himself in a rich vein of form in the recently concluded Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy. His heroics with both the bat and the ball for Mumbai can be a major reason for him to get a few buyers in hot pursuit of himself.
Kolkata was in desperate need of a batsman in the middle who can build the innings and then eventually unleash a volley of carnage against the bowlers. Dinesh Karthik was surmised to carry on this role, but he failed to live up to the billing in the dicey surfaces of the UAE. Dube’s inclusion to the squad will bring in a recognized batsman in the number five or sixth spot that will provide the bridge between the top-order and the hard-hitters who arrives a bit late in the party that includes the likes of Eoin Morgan and Andre Russell.
Dube will be also bringing along with himself a fresh bout of medium pace that will take a lot off from the shoulders of Eoin Morgan as he will have an additional option to turn to in case if his primary bowlers fail to scratch the surface.
Despite the endless tailspin that Nair is in at the moment and the amount of despair that he has gone through in the last year, his addition to the Kolkata squad can make him that rock-solid support that KKR has lacked in the previous year.
In an attempt to play mostly all-rounders, the number of specialized batsmen in the squad went down, and that eventually turned into a major spot of bother for Captain Morgan and company.
Nair has failed to gather steam in the last couple of years in IPL and henceforth Kings XI Punjab decided to part ways with this youngster. However, his previous editions in IPL have established him as a force to reckon with once he gets going.
Rahul Tripathi has blown hot and cold in the last edition of the campaign and to matters worse, he has been rotated in various roles throughout the innings. However, Karun Nair’s introduction will mean the preamble of a set batsman who can open the innings alongside Shubman Gill and provide KKR with the much-needed salvo in the powerplay that they have failed to produce.
This man has already been a part of Kolkata Knight riders for a significant timeframe. However, in the last year, Chawla couldn’t really live up to the hype surrounding him. Despite failing to claw the surface harder, he managed to pull off a few crucial wickets that raised the hopes of an otherwise ailing Chennai Super Kings.
Chawla is a bowling all-rounder and brings a lot of experience alongside himself that makes him a tough nut to crack. Not only is he an experienced spinner, but he is also a decent batsman who can create a significant difference with the blade in his hand.
Cummins played an imperative role with the bat in the last edition of the tournament when the batsmen failed that included a decent half-century. In case if KKR is drafting Chawla alongside Cummins, even if there is a batting slide, Chawla and Cummins will be able to push the scores to respectable stature. He also has a knack for rattling a few important partnerships in the middle-overs. Another important aspect that Kolkata lacked in their bowling department in the last edition was a quality Indian bowler who has donned on the Indian colours. Chawla’s re-introduction to the side will be a major boost as he will tick this salient box.
This man hailing from Maharashtra is one of India’s primary bowling weapons in the longest format of the game. In the last edition of the tournament, he failed to impress despite the predominance of the bowlers. However, when the party arrives in India, it is hard to find an experienced fast bowler who has donned on the Indian jersey.
Yadav is capable of bowling regularly at 145 plus clicks that can be a real tearjerker for the batsmen. Considering the flat stature of the Indian pitches, KKR will be in dire need of someone who can mix his deliveries to bamboozle the batting side. Despite Yadav being an expensive customer in the shortest format of the sport, his ability to mix the deliveries makes him a big name to be a part of any squad.
His introduction to the KKR squad will provide guidance to the budding likes of Shivam Mavi and Kamlesh Nagarkoti, two soaring young guns of Indian fast bowling.