IPL 2019: Why Dinesh Karthik should not be sacked as KKR captain
Kolkata Knight Riders are having a miserable season in IPL 2019. After a strong start where they won four of their first five games, KKR suddenly lost momentum and went on to lose six matches in a row.
Placed at the 6th position in the points table, KKR's chances of qualifying to the playoffs are now hanging by a thread. The below-par performance of KKR has not only led to the axing of some of the regular players from the playing XI, but also raised questions of Dinesh Karthik's captaincy.
Many have even opined that the management needs to relieve him of the captaincy and appoint someone else in his stead. IPL 2019 has been a tough time for KKR as well as for Karthik.
Now before getting into the captaincy debate, let's take a closer look at the team's performance. KKR have struggled in almost all departments this season. Their batting order look vulnerable, depending heavily on the openers and Andre Russell. The inconsistent middle order means they are always plenty of runs short of posting a competitive total.
The bowling, meanwhile, has consistently let KKR down. The lack of experience in the fast bowling department has led to the fast bowlers giving away too many runs, especially in the death overs. The spinners have shown signs of returning to form lately by taking a few wickets, but even they have been largely ineffective in the middle part of the season.
The replacements have not stepped up either. Regular faces like Robin Uthappa and Kuldeep Yadav were dropped after their miserable shows with bat and ball respectively, but their replacements too have failed to deliver.
Considering all these factors, it would be unfair to blame the skipper alone for the losses. Cricket is a team game and for KKR, it is not just one particular person who has failed; the entire team apart from Russell have struggled to find the rhythm.
Sure, there have been some wrong captaincy moves which let a few games slip out of the hands of KKR. But players should be ready to deliver when the captain turns to them, and in that respect Karthik has been severely handicapped.
Even if KKR decide to appoint a new captain, there aren't many candidates to fill Karthik's shoes. Experienced players like Uthappa and Kuldeep have already been shown the door. Appointing one of them would mean KKR will go in with a new captain who is already struggling with his own form; the added responsibility could well make the situation worse.
There is always the option of going with Russell, of course, but asking him to do literally everything would not be a good idea.
Karthik is one of the most experienced players in the KKR squad. He has captained his state in several domestic tournaments and led them from the front on many occasions. KKR themselves finished third under his captaincy in IPL 2018. Karthik may be going through a lean phase right now, but he has a proven track record.
Fortunately, the KKR management hasn't yet made any call regarding the change in captaincy. Head coach Jacques Kallis has shown faith in Karthik's ability as a captain, which is good to see.
It is disheartening for KKR fans to see their team lose so many matches in a row, but changing the captain will do no good if the other players continue with their poor form. The management needs to lend its support to Karthik the captain and focus on improving the performance of the players so that they can win the remaining matches and end the season on a high.