Following a mutual separation with their talismanic leader Gautam Gambhir after 7 long years, KKR have left their fans more confused after conjuring up a relatively inexperienced squad, mostly of young talents. Looking the most weak on paper, Shah Rukh’s camp have acquired the services of 11 Indian players, from which only five have played for the Men in Blue senior team.
A look at the Kolkata Knight Riders squad after the IPL 2018 auctions –
Total Players: 19
Overseas Players: 7
Batsmen: Chris Lynn, Ishank Jaggi, Subhman Gill, Apoorv Wankhade & Rinku Singh
All Rounders: Andre Russell, Sunil Narine, Cameron Delport, Javon Searless, Nitish Rana, Shivam Mavi & Kamlesh Nagarkotti
Wicket Keepers: Robin Uthappa & Dinesh Karthik
Bowlers: Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Johnson, Kuldeep Yadav, Piyush Chawla, Vinay Kumar
Probable Playing XI: Sunil Narine, Chris Lynn, Robin Uthappa, Nitish Rana, Dinesh Karthik, Ishank Jaggi/Subhman Gill, Andre Russell, Mitchell Starc, Kuldeep Yadav, Vinay Kumar, Shivam Mavi/Kamlesh Nagarkotti
Verdict: Strong bowling attack needs to make up for bleak batting
Besides Gambhir’s departure, the Knights could not hold on to Manish Pandey and Suryakumar Yadav, while also letting go of Bangladeshi all rounder Shakib has depleted the batting depth by quite a margin. Though familiar face Uthappa is joined by another glovesman Dinesh Karthik in the squad, KKR would mainly pin their batting hopes on Australian explosive batsman- Chris Lynn.
Apart from retaining their core spin trio of Narine, Kuldeep and Chawla, Eden Garden’s recent aid to pace and seam have seen the two-time champions rake up enough firepower in fast bowling department with the inclusion of Aussie left-arm quicks Starc and Johnson, while also shelving out a combined INR 6.2 cr for Indian U-19 speedsters Mavi and Nagarkotti.
However, amidst of all these, lack of a proper leader in the side may come back to haunt KKR and prove to be the biggest obstacle in their quest of a third title.