Last month, two-time IPL winners Kolkata Knight Riders released a total of 11 players from their 2019 squad, including a few big names. Poor form was cited as the primary reason behind the management letting go of these players as it felt their recent form did not match the wages they had been drawing.
However, it is highly likely that the franchise would be buying back a few of the released players if they are up for purchase at bargain prices in the upcoming player auction. While they are unlikely to bid for any of these players, they can still use the Right To Match (RTM) card to re-employ them if need be.
Also see – Ranji points table
Here are the three players KKR might be looking to buy back through their RTM card:
#1 Chris Lynn
Chris Lynn finished the last IPL with a strike-rate close to 140 and more than 400 runs in his kitty. It's safe to say that he didn’t have a poor season by any means, but he did always struggle against spin (particularly during the powerplay). The KKR think tank must have deemed 9.6 crore rupees to be too hefty a price for a player struggling against spin on Indian tracks. But rest assured, Lynn will be on their radar going into the auction.
Not only has he been a proven match-winner for the Kolkata franchise in the past, his performance in the recent Abu Dhabi T10 league -- almost scoring a century in one match -- takes him to the top spot in the list.
Other franchises will be gunning for Lynn as well, but KKR will most likely be using their RTM card for the swashbuckling Aussie if his eventual pricing is anywhere in the Rs 4-5 crore range.
#2 Robin Uthappa
Robin Uthappa’s strike-rate was a major concern for KKR last IPL season. The veteran was nowhere near his fluent best and played with a strike rate of mere 115. He was often guilty of taking a lot of time to settle in, which hurt KKR’s chances in a few games. He was eventually dropped for a few games and speculations that he might be released were ripe even before the tournament ended.
But, it won't be easy to undermine someone with the kind of experience he has. With over 4000 runs and an appearance in every edition of the tournament so far, Uthappa surely cannot be ignored so easily.
Add to that his ability to tackle spin with an array of shots, and it might just be that KKR will be looking to have him back if the bidding price doesn’t go too high for the right-hander.
#3 Piyush Chawla
Piyush Chawla has been one of the most successful bowlers in IPL history. He has scalped 150 wickets in the tournament, a feat achieved by only three other bowlers. He has been a consistent performer for KKR since his move to the franchise, even hitting the winning four in the 2014 finals!
But, he has ceased to be as deadly with the ball as he used to be in the past, failing to make an impact in the last few years.
An economy rate touching 9 and just 10 wickets in 13 games (at an average of 39.90) last year is probably why he has found his name in the list comprising of released players.
But, the wrist-spinner's wicket-taking ability in the middle overs might just be enough for KKR to reconsider him as his name goes under the hammer.