Indian Premier League 2019: KKR well equipped to end five-year drought

It has bolstered the bowling attack with some imported ammunition even as batting is over-reliant on Indians

Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) is known for discovering talent and sticking to trusted lieutenants. Be it finding good leaders in Gautam Gambhir and Dinesh Karthik or promoting players like Sunil Narine and Kuldeep Yadav to become match-winners, KKR has always been consistent in building its team with great care and attention.

For the 12th edition of the Indian Premier League, KKR has bolstered its bowling attack with some imported ammunition. More than reputation, the franchise has looked for effectiveness and experience (not necessarily international).

The newly recruited pacers — New Zealander Lockie Ferguson, left-armer Englishman Harry Gurney, South African Anrich Nortje and West Indies all-rounder Carlos Brathwaite — have one thing in common — all have impressive strike rates and decent economy in T20 cricket.

It will be interesting to see how the overseas speedsters gel with the Indians, including Prasidh Krishna and new entrants such as all-rounder Shrikant Mundhe, Y. Prithvi Raj and Sandeep Warrier, and operate as a new pace unit.

Indian Premier League 2019: KKR well equipped to end five-year drought


The well settled trio of spinners — Narine, Piyush Chawla and Kuldeep — will continue to stick to its role along with English all-rounder Joe Denly, who can chip in with his occasional leg-break bowling.

Seven options

KKR’s love for all-rounders cannot be missed this season too. It has seven options — Andre Russell, Narine, Denly, Nortje, Mundhe, Brathwaite and Piyush Chawla — to juggle around as per situations and oppositions.

The batting is over-reliant on Indians. Leaving aside the Aussie-Windies fire-brand opening pair of Chris Lynn and Narine, the Kolkata-based outfit primarily depends on Robin Uthappa, Karthik, Shubman Gill and Nitish Rana.

Considering that Gill is the most complete batsman in the middle order, KKR will hope the Punjab player shows more responsibility this season.

Known for his finishing skills, Karthik will also play a crucial role in closing overs whether the team needs to set a stiff target or complete a big chase.

Rinku Singh and wicketkeeper-batsman Nikhil Naik can be handy choices.

Inspirational leader

KKR has always looked for inspirational leadership and Karthik, who took over from Gambhir, has risen to the expectations without giving up his composure.

With his no-nonsense and practical approach, the wicketkeeper-batsman was able to take the side to the playoffs in his first season as captain and will be hoping to bring back the trophy to Kolkata after five years.

Starting with two home matches at its iconic home ground, the Eden Gardens, will be a huge boost for the Jacques Kallis-coached side as it can seek encouragement from its passionate supporters to seize early advantage in what may be a tricky season in an election year.

Source: Read Full Article