IPL 2020: Best Kolkata Knight Riders XI for the upcoming season
Over the last few years, KKR have not been able to reach the heights they reached during the reign of Gautam Gambhir. Last year, despite the Herculean effort from Andre Russell, they failed to reach the playoffs stage. The KKR fanbase will be hoping that their team produce better all-round cricket this year and become three-time IPL champions.
Lack of experienced players in the bowling department cost KKR a playoff spot last season. This time around they have shelled out a large sum of money and acquired the services of Pat Cummins, who is regarded as one of the best bowlers from the current generation.
They also strengthened their batting department by bringing in attacking players like Eoin Morgan and Tom Banton. These two players are expected to reduce the run-scoring burden on Russell and Dinesh Karthik.
Squad for IPL 2020: Andre Russell, Dinesh Karthik (c), Harry Gurney, Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Kuldeep Yadav, Lockie Ferguson, Nitish Rana, Prasidh Krishna, Rinku Singh, Sandeep Warrier, Shivam Mavi, Shubman Gill, Siddhesh Lad, Sunil Narine, Pat Cummins, Eoin Morgan, Varun Chakravarthy, Tom Banton, Rahul Tripathi, Chris Green, M Siddharth, Praveen Tambe, Nikhil Naik
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The KKR management has retained most of the key players from the previous seasons. But they released one of their most successful players, Robin Uthappa, so there will be extra responsibility on the likes of Shubman Gill and Nitish Rana to perform consistently in the top order.
Now, let us take a look at the best possible combination for the KKR team during the upcoming IPL season.
Openers: Shubman Gill and Rahul Tripathi
Shubman Gill and Rahul Tripathi will in all likelihood open the innings for KKR during the upcoming season. Gill had a fruitful season with the bat while opening the innings for KKR last year, so he should be given a longer rope in that role.
Tripathi, meanwhile, had an amazing season as an opener for Rising Pune Supergiant in IPL 2017. His consistent performances in the top order played a crucial role in his team's journey to the final that year.
Tripathi then played for the Rajasthan Royals in the 2018 and 2019 seasons. However, he didn't get consistent opportunities to display his talents, and was eventually released by the Royals before the auction. Considering his aggressive batting style, KKR would do well to pick Tripathi to partner Gill during IPL 2020.
Sunil Narine and Tom Banton are the backup openers available in the squad.
Middle order: Nitish Rana, Eoin Morgan, Dinesh Karthik (c), Andre Russell
Nitish Rana will bat at the number 3 position and look to anchor the KKR innings. He has the ability to switch gears effortlessly and take the game away from the opposition in a matter of a few overs.
England's limited-overs cricket skipper Eoin Morgan will bat at the crucial number 4 position. His presence will lend experience to the middle order, and also allow the rest of the batsmen to play freely around him.
Karthik and Russell will be the designated finishers in the team. Russell is unarguably the most devastating hitter in T20 cricket across the globe at present.
Lower order: Sunil Narine, Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Prasidh Krishna, Pat Cummins, Kuldeep Yadav
KKR's all-time leading wicket-taker Sunil Narine will handle the spin department along with the chinaman spinner Kuldeep Yadav. Both these players weren't in great form last season, and they will be looking to make a strong comeback in 2020.
Pat Cummins, Kamlesh Nagarkoti and Prasidh Krishna will handle the pace department. All three bowlers are capable of being at high pace.
Cummins will be given the responsibility to bowl the difficult overs - in the powerplay and at the death. Youngster Nagarkoti will look to grab his opportunities with both hands and impress the management with some consistent performances.
Best XI: Shubman Gill, Rahul Tripathi, Nitish Rana, Eoin Morgan, Dinesh Karthik (c), Andre Russell, Sunil Narine, Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Prasidh Krishna, Pat Cummins, Kuldeep YadavPublished 13 Jan 2020, 01:13 IST