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Predicting the 4 overseas players in KKR's playing XI for IPL 2021

Pat Cummins is yet to justify his astronomical price tag
Pat Cummins is yet to justify his astronomical price tag
Sai Krishna
SENIOR ANALYST
Modified 29 Mar 2021
Feature

The Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) enter the 14th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) having made a few smart acquisitions in the 2021 auction.

KKR signed domestic wicket-keeper Sheldon Jackson to make up for the release of Nikhil Naik, and snapped up veterans Karun Nair and Harbhajan Singh towards the end of the auction.

The overseas department was boosted by the addition of 2016 Man of the Final Ben Cutting and returning Bangladesh all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan. Meanwhile, Tim Seifert was retained by the franchise after coming in as an injury replacement for American pacer Ali Khan during IPL 2020.

KKR's squad for IPL 2021: Eoin Morgan, Dinesh Karthik, Nitish Rana, Shubman Gill, Rinku Singh, Rahul Tripathi, Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Kuldeep Yadav, Lockie Ferguson, Pat Cummins, Prasidh Krishna, Sandeep Warrier, Shivam Mavi, Varun Chakravarthy, Andre Russell, Sunil Narine, Tim Seifert, Shakib Al Hasan, Sheldon Jackson, Vaibhav Arora, Karun Nair, Harbhajan Singh, Ben Cutting, Venkatesh Iyer, Pawan Negi

In this article, we predict the four overseas players in KKR's XI for IPL 2021.


Andre Russell, Eoin Morgan guaranteed to be part of KKR's playing XI in IPL 2021

As the captain, Morgan walks into the KKR playing XI for IPL 2021
As the captain, Morgan walks into the KKR playing XI for IPL 2021

Although Andre Russell endured a nightmare IPL 2020 campaign, and isn't really in the scheme of things with the West Indies, his place in the KKR playing XI can't be questioned. Provided he stays healthy, the burly all-rounder will be the key man for KKR this year.

Russell's batting position is the only grey area. He has often been used as a floater and has been vocal about his desire to bat higher up the order. We might see KKR shuffle his place in the batting order based on match situation once again.

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The other overseas fixture in KKR's playing XI for IPL 2021 is, of course, captain Eoin Morgan. The Englishman was handed the reins midway through the last campaign after Dinesh Karthik stepped down, but couldn't take his team to the playoffs. Hopefully, he learns from previous tactical mistakes and bats at No. 4 in IPL 2021.


Pat Cummins, Lockie Ferguson, Shakib Al Hasan, Sunil Narine the candidates for the remaining slots

Shakib Al Hasan is too good for the bench
Shakib Al Hasan is too good for the bench

The remaining two spots in the KKR playing XI should be straight shoot-outs between Lockie Ferguson and Pat Cummins, and Shakib Al Hasan and Sunil Narine.

Ferguson didn't get many opportunities in IPL 2020, but when he did feature in the XI, he impressed. The Kiwi quick put in a superb performance against the Sunrisers Hyderabad in his first match of the season, and proved that he is more than capable of competing with Cummins for a spot in the team.

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However, Cummins has a truckload of experience and comes with a hefty price tag that he hasn't quite justified yet. He should hold on to his place in the XI, but if he suffers a dip in form, he might find himself being dropped.

The spin-bowling all-rounder role has been occupied by Sunil Narine over the last few years for KKR. He was troubled by issues with his action in the last campaign, and couldn't deliver the goods at the top of the order as well. But the team management has backed the West Indian through thick and thin, and that should continue in IPL 2021.

Shakib Al Hasan is too good for the bench of an IPL team, but he might be resigned to carrying the drinks if Narine is able to make an impact. Tim Seifert is the backup wicket-keeper, while Ben Cutting will step in if Russell is incapacitated.

KKR will enter IPL 2021 with the same first-choice overseas combination they used last year.

VERDICT: Andre Russell, Eoin Morgan, Sunil Narine, Pat Cummins


Published 29 Mar 2021, 19:00 IST
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