IPL 2023 – 2 Overseas Players Who Can Captain KKR

The Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) are currently sweating over the fitness of their captain Shreyas Iyer as his availability for the upcoming IPL 2023 is under a massive cloud, following the recurrence of his back injury.

Shreyas Iyer had missed 6 white-ball matches against New Zealand and also the first Test against Australia due to a back injury, before making a return to feature in the remaining 3 Tests.

However, during the 4th Test against Australia, Iyer complained of back pain and didn’t come out to bat in Ahmedabad, before being ruled out of the 3-ODI series against Steve Smith’s side.

Shreyas Iyer is currently doing his rehab at the NCA in Bangalore ahead of IPL 2023

The latest update has stated that Shreyas Iyer will wait for 10 more days to make a call on his fitness and availability – whether he will play from the start of the tournament, or will miss the first half, or will miss the entire IPL 2023.

kkr ipl 2023

While Shreyas Iyer waits for the next 10 days, KKR will be on their toes, searching for a backup middle-order batsman among those who had gone unsold in the IPL 2023 auction, and the franchise and their management will also have to choose the player who would lead KKR if Shreyas Iyer misses the tournament, fully or partially.

Last season, Shreyas Iyer led KKR for the first after leaving Delhi Capitals. It wasn’t a good season as KKR finished 7th under Iyer, but KKR had put their faith in Iyer as a long-term captaincy option. They also, however, didn’t officially name any vice-captain, and it was not needed last season. But now, KKR will have to pick a deputy to Iyer.

KKR’s squad in IPL 2023 is stronger from last season, especially in terms of their overseas department; all 8 of their overseas players are vastly experienced in the T20 format. If it comes to it, KKR might choose one of their overseas stars as their new skipper instead of going with the Indian players.

Here are 2 strong overseas captaincy contenders in the KKR squad:

Sunil Narine

KKR certainly sees Sunil Narine as a captaincy candidate: Narine recently led the Abu Dhabi Knight Riders team – owned by the same KKR owners – in the ILT20 tournament in the UAE. And although the team didn’t qualify for the playoffs, it is clear that the KKR management sees leadership quality in the 34-year-old veteran all-rounder.

Sunil Narine
Sunil Narine. Image-BCCI

Sunil Narine has been the longest-serving player for KKR; nobody has spent more time in the KKR dressing room as a player than Sunil Narine, who played a significant role in both of their IPL title victories.

He made his IPL debut in 2012 and has snapped up 152 wickets while maintaining a terrific economy of 6.63; and in the past 6-7 years, the left-hander has also been used as a pinch-hitter with the bat-his strike rate of 162 vindicating that decision from the KKR management.

Shakib Al Hasan

When KKR rebought Shakib Al Hasan for his base price of INR 1.5 crore in the IPL 2023 auction, he was mostly picked up for his all-round skillset, his vast experience, and the Bangladeshi fan-following he’d bring to KKR – they have also bought Litton Das.

Shakib Al Hasan
Shakib Al Hasan. Image credit: INDRANIL MUKHERJEE/AFP/GettyImages)

But now, with less than two weeks to go for the IPL 2023 to kick-start, KKR might seriously be pondering handing the captaincy duties to the veteran Bangladesh all-rounder.

Shakib has already spent 8 seasons with KKR – from 2011 to 2017 and in 2021 – and played a crucial role, and was part of both the title-winning sides in 2012 and 2014.

There is no doubt over what he brings to the table as an all-rounder – an experience of 400 T20 matches, 112 of them T20Is and 71 in the IPL.

Talking about his captaincy experience, Shakib is the second-most capped Bangaleshi T20I captain with some success in home conditions, while the players mostly remained unequipped to win matches outside Asia and against strong opponents.

Nonetheless, Shakib can fill that hole of Iyer in the XI, not just as a dependable batsman, but also as an experienced and respected captain.

KKR full squad for IPL 2023:

Shreyas Iyer (c)(awaiting fitness tests), Nitish Rana, Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Venkatesh Iyer, Andre Russell, Sunil Narine, Shardul Thakur, Lockie Ferguson, Umesh Yadav, Tim Southee, Harshit Rana, Varun Chakravarthy, Anukul Roy, Rinku Singh, Narayan Jagadeesan, Vaibhav Arora, Suyash Sharma, David Weise, Kulwant Khejrolia, Mandeep Singh, Litton Das, Shakib Al Hasan.