The Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) had a subpar IPL 2020 campaign. Halfway through the tournament, Dinesh Karthik stepped down as the captain of the franchise, with Eoin Morgan replacing him at the helm.
Despite having star players like Andre Russell, Sunil Narine, and Pat Cummins in their ranks, the Kolkata Knight Riders failed to make it to the playoffs. KKR, who finished fifth, did have a few consistent performers such as Varun Chakravarthy as positives. But overall, they failed to achieve their objective.
3 released players who could strengthen the Kolkata Knight Riders
KKR have retained their core group and will look to strengthen themselves in a few areas. Here are three released players who could fit into their scheme of things perfectly if they snap them up at the IPL 2021 Auction.
#3 Krishnappa Gowtham
Krishnappa Gowtham first featured in the IPL for the Rajasthan Royals and played a few handy knocks for RR down the order. He was also impressive with the ball and bowled well in the powerplays.
He scored a sensational hundred and picked up an eight-wicket haul in the same game of the Karnataka Premier League. It prompted the Kings XI Punjab to trade the all-rounder in from the Royals for IPL 2020.
However, Gowtham had a season to forget as he scored just 42 runs in two games and was expensive with the ball too, picking up just one wicket. Thus, the Punjab-based franchise decided to let him go ahead of the upcoming season.
But one bad season doesn't take anything away from the fact that Gowtham is a handy all-rounder. He has played 24 IPL games and has scored at an outstanding strike rate of 169.09. He also has 13 wickets to his name and could be a bargain buy for the Kolkata Knight Riders.
The presence of Narine, Chakravarthy and Kuldeep Yadav means KKR have variety in their spin department. However, Gowtham's off-spin along with his ability to use the long handle will provide the Kolkata Knight Riders a different dimension.
It will be interesting to see whether they attain the services of the Karnataka all-rounder for the upcoming season.
#2 Jason Roy
Jason Roy is a hard-hitting opener who has been instrumental in England's white-ball dominance for quite some time. However, he hasn't managed to replicate the same in the IPL. Having played for teams like the Gujarat Lions and the Delhi Daredevils, Roy didn't quite get the consistent chances he deserved.
But he is a destructive opener and could slot perfectly into Kolkata Knight Riders' playing XI. KKR let go of Tom Banton and will be on the lookout for an opener to possibly bat alongside Indian sensation Shubman Gill.
After Narine failed to perform at the top of the order, the Kolkata Knight Riders looked unable to solve their opening woes. They then played Nitish Rana as an opener.
Although the southpaw did a fine job, the Kolkata Knight Riders will look to address their opening issue as soon as possible. Hence, it could be a smart move for KKR to go for Jason Roy at the IPL 2021 Auction.
#1 Aaron Finch
It is astonishing to see that Aaron Finch is yet to cement his place in the list of all-time IPL greats. He has played for eight different teams and that speaks a lot about the lack of faith shown in him by the franchises.
Royal Challengers Bangalore bought the Australian white-ball skipper at the IPL 2020 Auction. It seemed to be a masterstroke, given Finch's experience and ability to provide his team with flying starts.
But RCB's run-scoring burden once again fell on Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers as Finch was far from impressive. He scored just 268 runs in 12 games at a modest strike rate of 111.2 . The former No.1-ranked T20I batsman was released by RCB ahead of next season.
However, Finch will definitely add a wealth of experience to the Kolkata Knight Riders squad if they snap him up at the live IPL 2021 Auction. He has played 87 IPL games, scoring 2005 runs thus far.
His attacking game could prove to be the perfect foil for Shubman Gill to take his time and get himself in. So it remains to be seen whether the Kolkata Knight Riders will bank on Finch's experience or overlook him due to a poor IPL 2020 campaign.