Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) head coach Chandrakant Pandit has asserted that the decision to name Nitish Rana as stand-in captain in Shreyas Iyer’s absence was a unanimous one. Backing the Delhi’s cricketer ability as a leader, the coach expressed confidence that Rana would do a good job in the role.
On Monday, March 27, the Kolkata franchise confirmed Rana as the stand-in captain for IPL 2023. While there is no certainty over when Shreyas will recover from his back injury and be available to play, the KKR management is hopeful of him playing some part in the edition.
According to some earlier media reports, all-rounder Shardul Thakur and spinner Sunil Narine were in the running for KKR’s captaincy. However, the role eventually went to Rana.
At a press conference on Tuesday, March 28, Pandit was asked about the factors that went in the left-hander batter’s favor. Responding to a Sportskeeda query, he explained:
“It’s a question of giving responsibility and he is capable. He has been with KKR for so many years. He has played (a lot) of domestic cricket as well. As they say in English, ‘all boxes to be ticked’. I am very confident about what he has been doing. It is not a question of someone being fit or unfit for the role. At the international level, everyone is a good cricketer and have their own skills.
“It is a collective decision and not one particular decision of the coach.” Pandit added, “The support staff and everybody are involved there. It has been accepted very nicely and I am sure that Nitish will do the best job as he has been mentioning.”
Rana, 29, has played 74 matches for KKR, scoring 1744 at a strike rate of 135.61, with 11 half-centuries.
“Shreyas’ presence makes a lot of difference” - Chandrakant Pandit
During the interaction, Pandit also shared his thoughts on regular skipper Shreyas’ absence for at least the first half of IPL 2023. The well-respected 61-year-old coach admitted:
“Shreyas’ presence makes a lot of difference. We are hopeful that he will be back very soon. That will make a lot of difference to our team as well.”
The KKR coach was also asked for his views on how the franchise would utilize the ‘Impact Player’ option. Terming the rule as a challenging one, he stated:
“We have been working on it. It’s a challenging rule. It’s very interesting for coaches and captains as well. We have been preparing ourselves and discussing with support staff.”
The Impact Player rule, which will be introduced in the IPL during the upcoming season, will allow a team to bring in a player as a substitute during a match.