They received a big jolt when Andre Russell was banned for one year. To make matters worse, they were not able to buy the expensive Ben Stokes. Yet, after everything, KKR's smart buys prove why SRK's franchise is the wisest when it comes to auctions.
An analysis of the KKR squad after the auctions held on Monday.
Last season’s performance: 4th place finish
With 14 points from 11 matches, KKR had a golden chance to cement their spot among the top-2 teams at the end of the league stage. However, losing two successive matches against RCB and GL ensured that the last league match was a must-win for the Knights to qualify for the playoffs. They did defeat Sunrisers Hyderabad in the final game to qualify but lost to the same opposition in the Eliminator to bow out of the tournament.
Players Retained – 14
Gautam Gambhir, Sunil Narine, Andre Russell, Shakib Al Hasan, Chris Lynn, Manish Pandey, Yusuf Pathan, Suryakumar Yadav, Robin Uthappa, Kuldeep Yadav, Piyush Chawla, Umesh Yadav, Sheldon Jackson, Ankit Rajpoot.
— KolkataKnightRiders (@KKRiders) February 20, 2017
Players Bought in IPL 2017 Auctions – 9
Trent Boult, Chris Woakes, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Rishi Dhawan, Darren Bravo, Rovman Powell, Sayan Ghosh, R. Sanjay Yadav, Ishank Jaggi
Team Strength/Weakness and Chances in IPL 10:
Considering that KKR have kept a majority of their core intact, the new team for 2017 season looks fairly balanced, except the huge setback of the dynamic Andre Russell. The Caribbean star’s 1-year ban is set to hurt Knights the most, but they did manage to compensate it by some smart buys in the auctions.
While the two-time champions roped in all-rounders like Woakes, Coulter-Nile, and Rishi Dhawan, they added firepower in their bowling in the form of Trent Boult. The squad of 23 seems to have an even share of batting and bowling depth. Russell is a player who is virtually irreplaceable, but Woakes’ inclusion is sure to strengthen their bowling at least. In the batting department, players like Pandey, Pathan and Chris Lynn will have to shoulder more responsibility in Russell’s absence.
Taking into account that KKR never goes after big names, this was expected from Gambhir & Co. Even with no Russell, if they perform to potential, a playoff spot will not be much difficult to achieve.
Best Playing XI:
Gautam Gambhir(C), Robin Uthappa(Wk), Manish Pandey, Yusuf Pathan, Suryakumar Yadav, Shakib Al Hasan, Chris Woakes, Rishi Dhawan, Trent Boult/Nathan Coulter-Nile, Sunil Narine, Umesh Yadav