Aakash Chopra has picked Eoin Morgan's improved captaincy in the second half of IPL 2021 as one of many things that have gone in the Kolkata Knight Riders' (KKR) favor.
KKR were considered rank outsiders going into the UAE leg of the Indian Premier League as they were placed second-last in the IPL 2021 points table with just two wins from their first seven matches. However, the two-time IPL champions staged a grand comeback to not only make the IPL 2021 playoffs but also stun the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in the Eliminator.
While previewing the KKR-DC Qualifier 2 clash in a video shared on his YouTube channel, Aakash Chopra highlighted that Morgan has displayed better leadership skills in the UAE. He observed:
"Kolkata is doing really well. I am liking the team a lot. They are playing very well and Morgan's captaincy has been much better in the second half as compared to the first half. He has still not scored runs with the bat, nor is he giving himself enough chances."
The former KKR player pointed out that the young Indian players have been instrumental in the franchise's transformation. Chopra elaborated:
"It is an admission that he does not have the form, so he will send the others ahead. Not that Dinesh Karthik has scored too many runs. But this team is running on young Indians, which is phenomenal - whether it is Venkatesh Iyer, Shubman Gill, Nitish Rana, Varun Chakravarthy or Shivam Mavi."
The opening combination of Venkatesh Iyer and Shubman Gill has been one of the biggest contributing factors in KKR's turnaround. The duo have more often than not given the franchise flying starts, which was their Achilles heel when they were playing in India.
Aakash Chopra on KKR's possible team changes
While acknowledging that Prasidh Krishna also has similar concerns, Aakash Chopra reckons the Bengaluru-born seamer should replace Shivam Mavi in KKR's playing XI if the latter is unable to address his no-ball issues. He explained:
"Mavi, you should not bowl no-balls. That's something you should actually think about and if that is not getting sorted, then bring Prasidh Krishna because he was your highest wicket-taker when he was dropped. One over can go bad for anyone but to be honest, he also has no-ball issues."
The 44-year-old concluded by stating that KKR should not bring back Andre Russell at the expense of Shakib Al Hasan even if the former is fit and available. Chopra reasoned:
"Lockie has been absolutely sensational. Lockie, Sunil and Varun - this is a bank of 12 overs. Don't drop Shakib if Andre Russell is fit. He will be very useful both as batter and bowler."
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Shakib Al Hasan has proved his worth for KKR in the last couple of matches, with both bat and ball. The Bangladesh all-rounder has also not joined his national side for their warm-up encounters ahead of the first-round matches of the upcoming T20 World Cup 2021.
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