IPL 2018: KKR injury woes- Boon or bane?
As we all know, Chris Lynn injured his shoulder during the T20 tri-series against England and New Zealand and had to sit out of the PSL. Good news is he does not have to undergo surgery on the dislocated shoulder but we still don’t know if he will back fit in time to don KKR colors for IPL 2018.
Another injury scare is for their star all-rounder, Andre Russell who pulled his right hamstring and will miss the rest of the PSL games. We still don’t have any time-frame for his return and this injury along with the one year ban he served for violating a doping rule raises concerns on his overall fitness and his readiness to represent KKR for IPL 2018.
The best-case scenario for all KKR fans and owners is getting both fit and firing on all cylinders for them to have a decent chance this year. The KKR think-tank will be hoping both will overcome respective injuries on time.
Another vital cog in their squad, Mitchell Starc is currently playing for Australia against South Africa in the four match Test series and KKR will be praying he comes back with no injury concerns to spearhead their pace attack.
KKR has smallest squad this time around and they don’t have adequate bench strength to replace and still be competitive.
Assuming Chris Lynn and Andre Russell don’t get fit in time to take part this season, let us see the possible replacements they could sign and another potential opportunity for them to increase the squad size and depth if they could recoup the money spent on both these stars.
How much they cost at auction?
Chris Lynn was bought at INR 9,60,00,000 while Andre Russel was retained at INR 8,50,00,00 with his league fee being INR 7,00,00,000. If both are not fit to play, this would potentially free up INR 18,10,00,000 or 16,60,00,000.
With this amount, KKR could increase their squad size and hope to get quality replacements from the unsold players and if possible get players outside the auction list.
Possible alternatives to Chris Lynn
Kusal Perera, Lendl Simmons, Martin Guptill, Joe Root can all be considered from the list of players enrolled for auction along with Heinrich Klassen from outside if possible for replacing Chris Lynn.
Lendl Simmons has played for Mumbai Indians in IPL, scoring a century on debut, and can form a destructive opening partner to Robin Uthappa. He has scored 1079 runs at an average of 39.96 from 29 matches with an impressive strike rate of 127.
Kusal Perera is another promising player from Sri Lanka and can provide an attacking option to KKR at the top. He almost single-handedly won the first T20 for Sri Lanka by scoring a destructive 37-ball 66 inclusive of six 4s and four 6s in the ongoing Nidahas trophy. His strike rate in T20 internationals is 136 and could be a useful left-handed opening partner with Uthappa.
Martin Guptill to his credit has two T20 centuries and has also scored a double century in One Day International. He has plenty of T20 experience and many were surprised when he went unsold. He has played for Mumbai Indians and Kings XI Punjab before and could be a useful replacement with a strike of 132 and more than 2200 runs in T20 internationals.
Joe Root is an accomplished England international batsman but has limited T-20 experience and hasn’t played IPL before. Joe Root has more than 5000 runs in tests with 13 centuries at a batting average of 53 and 4000 runs in ODIs with 11 centuries at an average of nearly 51. If KKR want to include some solid middle order stability, Root could be intelligent pick but might be a riskier option as there isn’t much time to settle in the shortest format of the game.
Possible alternative to Andre Russell
From an allrounder point of view, KKR could look at Moises Henriques who seems to be only quality allrounder left as this is a very scarce area now. If KKR want to beef up their bowling options, they have many options out there who they could pick to complement their overall bowling department.
Moises Henriques has plenty of IPL experience having played for KKR, DD, MI, RCB and SRH. Has scored nearly 969 runs and has taken 38 wickets over 57 matches in IPL. Lack of good allrounders to an extent might force them to pick Moises who is the best of the rest.
Cost of replacements:
Assuming if KKR can get these players at their base price, the addition of Moises Henriques and one among Lendl Simmons, Martin Guptill, Kusal Perera and Joe Root should set them back by INR5,75,00,000 and they should still have plenty left to go after other options.
KKR would still like for the two to be fit and ready and if they don’t, they still have plenty of options to choose from to increase squad depth and add competition to the playing XI.