IPL 2018: Kolkata Knight Riders squad analysis
One of the most glamorous teams in the Indian Premier League and the two-time champions Kolkata Knight Riders will have a lot going on their minds before the upcoming season. Their initial tactic of bidding high for the players they backed, made life really difficult for them as the auction progressed and now it is up to the new bunch of players to carry on the KKR’s mantra of Korbo Lorbo Jeetbo!
Kolkata will enter the IPL with the least number of players in their squad-19. Perhaps the biggest change for the squad is that Gautam Gambhir (who led the team to both its titles) is not part of the KKR team this season and Dinesh Karthik has been entrusted with that responsibility. The KKR squad this season, fair to say, looks quite unbalanced on paper.
Although the team has some familiar names in their ranks like Robin Uthappa, Piyush Chawla and Kuldeep Yadav, some of the team’s key players of previous years are not part of the KKR setup anymore including their most successful skipper.
Hence the responsibility will be on Karthik to lead from the front and it would be fascinating to see how KKR perform under his leadership.
KKR will rely firmly on their West Indian stars Sunil Narine and Andre Russell, both of whom were retained by the franchise, and will remain Karthik’s go-to option in this edition of the Indian Premier League.
It is in the KKR setup that India’s U-19 stars are expected to get a lot of exposure and game time, along with invaluable experience. The Knight Riders showed immense faith in these youngsters and went for as many as three U-19 cricketers out of the total 19 that they picked. These include India’s highest run scorer in the ICC U-19 World Cup Shubman Gill and fast bowlers Kamlesh Nagarkoti and Shivam Mavi.
Apart from them, the bowling attack consists of Mitchell Johnson and Mitchell Starc and the franchise would not want to lose out on the latter due to his fitness issues.
Dinesh Karthik and Nitish Rana (who was impressive with the Mumbai Indians last season) strengthen the middle order.
The Kolkata Knight Riders take on the Royal Challengers Bangalore in their fortress Eden Gardens in their first match of the Indian Premier League on 8th April 2018.
Squad: Dinesh Karthik (C), Andre Russell, Sunil Narine, Mitchell Starc, Chris Lynn, Robin Uthappa, Piyush Chawla, Kuldeep Yadav, Shubman Gill, Ishank Jaggi, Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Nitish Rana, Vinay Kumar, Apoorv Wankhade, Rinku Singh, Shivam Mavi, Cameron Delport, Mitchell Johnson, Javon Searless.