IPL 2018: Lots to ponder for KKR think-tank ahead of 11th season
The Kolkata Knight Riders find themselves in a spot of bother now that Mitchell Starc has been ruled out of IPL 2018. They will have to look for a replacement but a player of Starc's caliber is hard to replace. With injury concerns surrounding both Andre Russell and Chris Lynn, KKR's chances in IPL 2018 look bleak.
Ahead of the auction, KKR surprised a lot of people when they announced the retention of Sunil Narine and Andre Russell by shelling out 12.5 crores and 8.5 crores respectively. The decision to not retain skipper Gautam Gambhir, who led them to two IPL titles in 2012 and 2014, received a lot of flak. Furthermore, the appointment of Dinesh Karthik as the new captain was met with mixed reactions.
In the IPL Player Auction 2018, KKR went all out to acquire the services of Chris Lynn and Mitchell Starc and ended up spending 9.6 Crores and 9.4 Crores on them respectively. This meant they spent a whopping 40 Crores on just four players!
Adding to their woes, these four players are now battling their own problems and may not be ready to feature for the side at the beginning of the campaign. Russell pulled a hamstring while playing for Islamabad United in the Pakistan Super League earlier this year and missed the rest of the tournament. He has reported for duty at the KKR camp but a cloud of uncertainty hovers over his fitness.
Lynn dislocated his shoulder while representing Australia in the T20I series against New Zealand in February. Though he has recovered in time for the IPL, he might not be able to give his 100 percent on the field. Sunil Narine meanwhile was reported for his bowling action yet again, while representing Lahore Qalandars in the PSL. This might play on his mind when he dons the KKR jersey in the IPL and could hinder his performance.
The KKR think tank will have a lot on their mind regarding the team structure and will have to sort things out before their first game, against the Royal Challengers Bangalore on April 8. While seeking a replacement for Starc, KKR must keep in mind the issues of their other star players. Even without Starc, they have a variety of fast bowling options like Mitchell Johnson, Vinay Kumar and the under-19 Indian pace duo of Kamlesh Nagarkoti and Shivam Mavi. Hence, they could opt for a player who can serve as a backup for Lynn or Russell.
Right now, KKR have a lot to worry about. Only time will tell if they are able to overcome these problems and put on a show in IPL 2018.
Play Fantasy Cricket at StarPick & Win up to Rs. 10 Crores as well as Signed Kits by IPL Stars.