Former Indian cricketer Irfan Pathan predicted the overseas players for Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in IPL 2024. He suggested Mitchell Starc, Andre Russell, and Sunil Narine as potential stars in the playing XI.
Before IPL 2024, Kolkata Knight Riders made significant signings, notably securing Mitchell Starc for a record-breaking sum of Rs. 24.75 crore. They also acquired Mujeeb Ur Rahman for Rs. 2 crore, Sherfane Rutherford for Rs. 1.5 crore, and Gus Atkinson for Rs. 1 crore at the auction. Additionally, they retained players like Andre Russell, Sunil Narine, Jason Roy, and Rahmanullah Gurbaz.
Irfan Pathan Picked KKR’s First-Choice Overseas Player In Playing XI For IPL 2024
During a Star Sports discussion, Irfan Pathan suggested likely overseas players for the Kolkata Knight Riders’ starting XI, naming Mitchell Starc, Andre Russell, and Sunil Narine among the top picks. Speaking on Star Sports, Irfan Pathan said:
“They will have to play Mitchell Starc, Andre Russell and Sunil Narine. These three are confirmed. If those (turning) pitches are there, Narine has to play. Gautam (Gambhir) actually likes it that way. He likes playing on the slow pitches and that is where he became champion a couple of times,”
Pathan recommended prioritizing Rahmanullah Gurbaz over Jason Roy if the team needs a wicketkeeper-batter in the lineup. Pathan said:
“Then they will have to leave out either Jason Roy or Rahmanullah Gurbaz. Only one of them can play. If they want to go with a wicketkeeper, then Jason Roy has to sit out. Then Gurbaz will play,”
Last season, Rahmanullah Gurbaz scored 227 runs in 11 matches, averaging 20.64 with a strike rate of 133.53. In comparison, Jason Roy accumulated 285 runs in 8 innings, averaging 35.63 with a remarkable strike rate of 151.60.
Pathan proposed that Kolkata Knight Riders could try out Manish Pandey or Venkatesh Iyer as openers alongside Jason Roy. He also suggested Srikar Bharat as a choice for the wicketkeeper-batter position, batting at No. 3 or coming in as an impact substitute. He said:
“If not, what they can do is, start with Jason Roy and have Manish Pandey open the innings. Manish Pandey can actually play that role. With his experience, he can play anywhere, or else Venkatesh Iyer can bat up the order,”
He added: “Maybe Srikar Bharat can actually bat at No. 3 or something. In that way, wicketkeeping will be sorted, or he can just play as a pure impact sub as a wicketkeeper. I really think Jason Roy is a better bet, with the kind of form he showed last year, than Rahmanullah Gurbaz,”
KKR didn’t make it to the playoffs in the 2022 and 2023 IPL seasons after reaching the final in 2021. Shreyas Iyer, who missed the previous season, will lead the team again. KKR finished seventh in the last two IPL seasons.