With just three days to go for the IPL 2023 to start, the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) have appointed Nitish Rana as their interim captain for the tournament in the absence of the injured Shreyas Iyer.
Iyer is currently nursing a back injury and is set to miss at least the first half of the IPL 2023 and could miss more.
KKR finished 7th in IPL 2022 with 6 wins and 8 losses
And while this announcement comes very close to the IPL 2023’s starting date, KKR had known about Iyer’s injury for a while, since he didn’t bat in the Ahmedabad Test after being in the starting XI and then missed the ODI series against Australia.
Since Iyer’s injury news, KKR had been pondering over the situation that has arised now of Iyer missing part or full tournament. Along with Nitish Rana, Sunil Narine, who’s been part of KKR for over a decade, was in the running for captaincy.
Here are 3 key reasons which led to KKR naming Nitish Rana as their interim skipper:
Indian captaincy option is mostly a better choice than overseas players
There have been multiple instances in the IPL where having an overseas captain hasn’t gone down well for a franchise. Even the great David Warner, when out of form and his SRH team struggling was sacked mid-season in 2021.
So that would have been a factor in KKR management’s thinking about going with Rana over Narine and Russell. KKR would rather want Narine and Russell to focus just on their game and fitness instead of adding responsibility and load of captaincy.
Being an Indian captain, it would also allow Rana, one might think, to be able to communicate in a better way than perhaps Narine, who’s already known to speak few words, would.
Nitish Rana has a good captaincy record in domestic cricket, while Narine disappointed as ADKR’s skipper in ILT20
According to the report, Nitish Rana had been in the running for captaincy in the minds of the KKR management and decision-makers and his contender was Sunil Narine, who recently led Abu Dhabi Knight Riders in the inaugural ILT20 in the UAE, where they finished last in six teams with just one win and eight losses.
Nitish Rana has led his state team Delhi in 12 T20s in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, with 8 wins and 4 defeats. The 29-year-old has been with KKR since 2018, so they know him well.
Rana over Narine and Russell: batsman over a injury-prone bowler and all-rounder
KKR are already dealing with one injured captain in Shreyas. They would want their interim skipper to play all the matches. Nitish Rana doesn’t have a history a injuries like Narine and Russell do, both of whom have also missed IPL matches due to injuries and niggles.
Kolkata Knight Riders Final Squad:
Nitish Rana (C), 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, Shreyas Iyer (subject to fitness)