The ongoing struggle of Kolkata Knight Riders' (KKR) batsmen in the IPL 2021 has left Indian legend Sunil Gavaskar highly disappointed.
Eoin Morgan's men fell to their fifth loss in seven matches after their batsmen again failed to show much intent and only managed to score a below-par 154/6 in the first innings against Delhi Capitals (DC).
Explaining how difficult it would be for KKR to turn things around from here due to the lack of 'class' in their batting line-up, Sunil Gavaskar told Star Sports:
"It's difficult, isn't it? (Turnaround). To be honest, they don't have too many classy batsmen. I don't know how many in the dug-out they can look to and say, 'Why don't you come in and bat? If you look at their batting, apart from Shubman Gill and Morgan himself, there is no class."
None of KKR's top three batters - Nitish Rana (15 off 12 balls), Shubman Gill (43 off 38 balls) and Rahul Tripathi (19 off 17 balls) - had a strike-rate of over 125 against DC.
By contrast, Delhi opener Prithvi Shaw's blazing 41-ball 82 showed how to go about things as Rishabh Pant's men eased to a comfortable 7-wicket win with 21 balls to spare.
Out of all the KKR batsmen, only Rahul Tripathi, Dinesh Karthik and Andre Russell have managed to find a bit of form. Gavaskar suggested that promoting these three players might be the only option left going forward.
"Apart from Andre Rusell down at 5 or 6 and Dinesh Karthik I would look at promoting Karthik up the order or Rahul Tripathi up the order.
Sunil Narine, at 4 or 5 for KKR is a waste of time, waste of space: Sunil Gavaskar
Sunil Gavaskar also heavily criticized KKR's strategy of using Sunil Narine in the middle order, calling it a 'waste of time'.
The left-handed batsman has scores of 4 (vs CSK), 6 (vs RR), 0 (vs PBKS) and 0 (vs DC) in the four innings he's played so far while coming in at number four or five.
Calling for the need to promote Narine to the opening slot in order to utilize the powerplay better, Gavaskar opined:
"Sunil Narine, at 4 or 5, is a waste of time, a waste of space. It doesn't make any sense having him there. If you want to have Narine, have him at the top of the order where can throw his bat around and connect a few. KKR's problem is that they haven't got anybody in that 3, 4 or 5 who can play an impact innings. That is making a big difference in the side."
KKR currently have 4 points from 7 games and are fifth in the table. Their next challenge will be against Virat Kohli's in-form RCB at Ahmedabad's Narendra Modi Stadium on May 3rd.