The Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) are still on the lookout for their first Indian Premier League (IPL) title in the post-Gautam Gambhir era, and this year's tournament might see them achieve this objective.
Captain Dinesh Karthik couldn't lead his team to the playoffs last year but with some T20 legends on the roster and some quality players picked up in the auction, KKR could go all the way.
Players who might warm the KKR bench in IPL 2020
In a team stacked with world-class players, there are bound to be a few quality cricketers who are resigned to the bench. Due to better options at KKR's disposal and the team combination not favouring them, here are 3 KKR players who might be benched for the entirety of the 2020 IPL season.
#3 Prasidh Krishna
Although Prasidh Krishna would ideally be expected to play a few games for KKR in this year's IPL owing to his youth and immense potential, the stats tell a different story.
He picked up just 4 wickets from the 11 games he played in IPL 2019, at an economy rate of 9.34. Even in Krishna's first IPL season in 2018, he conceded runs at 9.28 despite picking up 10 wickets in 7 games.
Perhaps the only reason he was afforded so many chances was due to injuries to Shivam Mavi and Kamlesh Nagarkoti and with both young players expected to be fit and raring to finally prove themselves in the IPL, Krishna might warm the bench. The 24-year-old might not be needed in conditions expected to assist spin - the 2-time IPL champions may go in with a 3-pronged spin attack - and his quality of hitting the deck hard might be counterproductive for KKR.
Former Kerala pacer Sandeep Warrier recently moved to Tamil Nadu in the domestic cricket and KKR captain Dinesh Karthik is known to be a fan of the pacer. This could further push Krishna down the pecking order, and he might have to wait a year to get his next taste of IPL action.
#2 Harry Gurney
England pacer Harry Gurney is a regular in T20 franchise leagues around the world like the Big Bash and the Blast, but his debut season in the IPL last year didn't exactly go to plan. In 8 games for KKR, he picked up only 7 wickets despite operating primarily at the death.
Gurney was retained by KKR due to the many variations in his arsenal, but the team management opted to spend big on Pat Cummins and made the Australian the most expensive overseas player in the history of the IPL auction. Lockie Ferguson may also be preferred ahead of the 33-year-old, with the Kiwi boasting of searing pace and some deceiving cutters.
Given that Sunil Narine, Andre Russell and Cummins are all but guaranteed to play, KKR's lack of experience in the batting lineup might mean that either Tom Banton or Eoin Morgan occupy the final overseas slot. With the presence of Krishna, Mavi, Nagarkoti, and Warrier, it is highly likely that Gurney will not get a game in the 2020 IPL.
#1 Chris Green
The skipper of the Guyana Amazon Warriors in the Caribbean Premier League, Chris Green was bought at his base price of 20 lakhs by KKR in the 2020 IPL auction. However, the South African-born Australian is unlikely to don the purple and gold in this year's IPL.
With Narine and Kuldeep Yadav being two quality spin options, Tamil Nadu mystery spinner Varun Chakravarthy was also bought for a hefty sum in the auction. With talented youngster Nitish Rana also capable of bowling some handy offies, Green might be surplus to KKR's requirements.
The 26-year-old hasn't played in the IPL yet and given the quality overseas options at KKR's disposal, he might warm the bench throughout the campaign despite coming into the tournament with ample match practice.