Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) is one of the most followed teams in the Indian Premier League (IPL), with their superstar owners adding to the aura. The Knights have enjoyed the unwavering support of the sports-crazy Kolkata crowd who have always stood by them.
KKR is one of the more successful teams in the IPL, winning two titles (2012 and 2014) in the competition. Over the years, the Kolkata-based franchise has tended to build their team around a strong Indian core, and a few superstar foreign players thrown in the mix.
Keeping in mind the players who have represented the Kolkata outfit in the twelve seasons of the IPL, we intend to stitch together an all-time best KKR XI. This hypothetical team follows the IPL norms of having a maximum of four foreigners in the playing XI.
Let us see which players make it to the Kolkata based team's all-time best XI.
# 1: Chris Lynn
Chris Lynn was one of the more consistent foreign batting recruits for KKR. In this all-time XI for the Kolkata-based team, the Australian would play the role of an attacking opener who gives the team flying starts in the power-play.
Lynn aggregated 1274 runs in the IPL for KKR, at an average of 34.43 and a strike rate of 141.39. He has the distinction of being the only foreign player to have struck ten fifty-plus scores for the franchise in the competition.
Brendon McCullum would have been the other option to take the foreign opener's spot in this KKR XI. But Lynn has a headstart over McCullum since the Kiwi did not make many significant contributions for the team after smashing an unbeaten 158 in the first-ever match of the prestigious league.
#2: Gautam Gambhir
Gautam Gambhir would partner Lynn at the top of the order in this all-time KKR XI. The left-hander would additionally shoulder the responsibility of leading this team owing to his stellar captaincy record for the franchise. The Gambhir-Lynn pair would provide a left-right combination at the top of the order.
Gambhir is the all-time highest run-scorer for KKR in the history of the IPL. The Delhi southpaw accumulated 3035 runs, at an average of 31.61 and a strike rate of 124.28, in the seven seasons he represented the purple brigade.
Middle Order (3-5)
#3: Robin Uthappa
Robin Uthappa was Gambhir's most reliable partner during the latter's stint with KKR. The Karnataka batsman, who has represented multiple teams in the IPL, enjoyed his greatest success while representing the Kolkata outfit.
After Gambhir, Uthappa is the highest run-scorer for KKR in the IPL. He has aggregated 2439 runs for the franchise, at an average of 30.48 and a strike rate of 136.25. Uthappa's run-tally for KKR includes the 660 runs he scored in his team's victorious IPL 2014 that won him the Orange Cap.
In this all-time XI, Uthappa would don the wicketkeeper's gloves, and would impart stability to the middle-order.
#4: Manish Pandey
Manish Pandey would take the No.4 slot in the batting order of this KKR all-time XI. The Karnataka middle-order batsman aggregated 1270 runs for the Kolkata-based team at an average of 31.75 and a strike rate of 125.12.
Dinesh Karthik, who has the highest batting average among any KKR player in IPL history, would be an alternate option in the middle order. But Pandey pips Karthik to this spot, owing to the former's consistent performances for the franchise over four seasons. Besides, Pandey scored a title-winning knock in the 2014 IPL final.
#5: Yusuf Pathan
Yusuf Pathan would take the final middle-order spot in this all-time KKR XI. Apart from his big-hitting abilities, Pathan can also be a back-up bowling option with his handy off-spinners.
Pathan is the third-highest run-getter for KKR, Gambhir and Uthappa being the top two. The Baroda batsman has aggregated 1893 runs for KKR, at an average of 31.55 and a strike rate of 138.27.
The part-time off-spinner has also picked up 21 wickets for KKR at a decent average of 32.09, and an acceptable economy rate of 7.40. With Gambhir and the middle-order of this all-time XI having played together in a few seasons, the batting unit of this KKR team looks like a cohesive unit.
#6: Andre Russell
Andre Russell would play the big-hitting all-rounder's role in this all-time KKR XI. The Jamaican can change the course of any match with both bat and ball, and is a dynamic fielder as well. He can be promoted up the order whenever the team needs quick runs.
Russell is one of the most-feared ball-strikers in the history of the IPL, his record in the competitionbeing a testimony to this fact. He has smashed 1342 runs for KKR in the IPL, at an average of 35.31. But the more telling factor is his strike rate of 188.74 in doing so. It is the highest in the history of the IPL for any player who has faced a minimum of 125 deliveries.
Russell has given a good account of himself with the ball in hand for KKR as well. The West Indian is the third-highest wicket-taker for the Kolkata based outfit, with 54 wickets to his credit.
#7: Sunil Narine
Sunil Narine would play the spin-bowling all-rounder's role in this all-time XI. The Trinidadian is the highest wicket-taker for KKR in the history of the IPL. He has accounted for 122 wickets at an average of 23.31 and a miserly economy rate of 6.67.
Narine has made telling contributions with the bat as well for KKR, especially when promoted to open the innings. His strike rate of 168.34 is next only to Russell in the KKR team, and is the third-highest overall among players who have faced a minimum of 125 deliveries.
Considering his best batting exploits have arrived while opening the innings, he could very well be promoted to face the new ball if the team requires a brisk start.
#8: Piyush Chawla
Piyush Chawla would provide the much-needed experience in the spin bowling department in this all-time KKR XI. The wily leg-spinner is the second-highest wicket-taker for KKR, and the highest for the franchise among Indian bowlers.
Chawla, who has been the most prolific Indian spin bowler for KKR, has snared 66 wickets for the Kolkata-based team, at an average of 27.80.
His most significant moment of glory in the tournament came with the bat in hand in the 2014 IPL final. Chawla's quickfire knock of 13 runs off five deliveries, including the winning boundary, helped KKR lift the coveted trophy for the second time.
#9: Kuldeep Yadav
Kuldeep Yadav would be the other spinner in this all-time KKR outfit. The left-arm wrist-spinner would be the perfect complement to the conventional leg-spin of Chawla and the unorthodox off-spin of Narine.
Although he had a forgettable season in the IPL last year, Yadav has a decent overall record for KKR. The Uttar Pradesh left-arm leg-spinner has accounted for 39 wickets for the franchise, at an average of 29.33.
Yadav also has a good rapport with Chawla, with the duo having played together for Uttar Pradesh in the domestic circuit.
#10: Morne Morkel
Morne Morkel would spearhead the KKR pace attack in the franchise's all-time XI. The South African accounted for 32 wickets in the three seasons he played for KKR, doing so at an average of 27.18 and an economy rate of 7.80.
Chris Woakes and Nathan Coulter-Nile are the other foreign pace bowling options for KKR. But their good performances were restricted to the 2017 season of the IPL when the Eden Gardens pitch was most conducive to fast bowling.
Considering his consistent performances for KKR over three seasons, Morkel gets the nod ahead of Woakes and Coulter-Nile, for a spot in this all-time KKR XI.
#11: Umesh Yadav
Umesh Yadav would take the final pace bowler's spot in this all-time KKR XI. The Vidarbha pacer is the fourth-highest wicket-taker for KKR, and the highest by an Indian fast bowler.
Yadav has picked 48 wickets for KKR at an average of 29.02. Although his economy rate of 8.62 is on the higher side, and he has a propensity to go for runs at the death, Yadav takes the final spot in this all-time XI owing to his wicket-taking ability.Published 26 Apr 2020, 20:31 IST