IPL 2023: Gujarat Titans Trade Two Star Players To KKR
The Kolkata Knight Riders have acquired the services of fast bowler Lockie Ferguson and wicketkeeper-opener Rahmanullah Gurbaz in a trade from IPL champions Gujarat Titans ahead of the IPL 2023 auction.
Lockie Ferguson was part of KKR for three seasons from 2019 to 2021. And his release by the Titans comes as a bit of a surprise: Lockie Ferguson took 12 wickets in 13 matches at an economy of 8.95 and was part of the title-winning side last season; he’s also been a crucial cog of New Zealand’s bowling attack in the T20 World Cup 2022 - 7 wickets in 5 matches - where the Kiwis reached the semis, and is one of the fastest bowlers going around in the world.
Lockie Ferguson spent three seasons with KKR earlier
It seems that Lockie Ferguson’s high price of 10 crores, for which he was bought by the Titans in the mega-auction was the factor in GT letting the Kiwi pacer go.
Rahmanullah Gurbaz gives KKR not only an attacking opening option but also a wicket-keeping option - KKR struggled on both these aspects last season as they chopped and changed their opening combinations and didn’t settle on one keeper.
Gurbaz was initially unsold in the IPL 2022 mega-auction, then Gujarat roped him in as a replacement player for Jason Roy. But Gurbaz spent the entire season on the bench as GT preferred Australian Matthew Wade over the Afghanistan keeper-batter.
The 20-year-old Gurbaz has featured in a number of T20 leagues around the world, playing 99 T20s already wherein he has struck runs at an impressive strike rate of 152.
The addition of Ferguson and Gurbaz could mean that KKR might release Pat Cummins and Aaron Finch.
Two-time champs KKR had a disappointing season under new captain Shreyas Iyer as they finished 7th in the points table with 6 wins and 8 losses.
The IPL 2023 mini-auction is set for December 23 and the deadline for submitting the list of retained and released players is November 15. In addition to the purse remaining from the previous auction and the value of the players they release, all the franchises have been given an additional 5 crore to spend at this auction, making the total purse to INR 95 crore.