IPL 2021: Kolkata Knight Riders Pre-Season Analysis

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The Kolkata Knight Riders had too many ups and downs last season. After some good and bad games, KKR missed the Qualifiers by a whisker and finished 5th in the table. They had many positives, but a captaincy change in the middle of the season made a lot of noise. This year, KKR will be willing to make it to the Qualifiers and win the trophy from thereon. So how does the Eoin Morgan-led team look ahead of the tournament, let’s see.

Current squad:

Eoin Morgan (C), Dinesh Karthik (WK), Nitish Rana, Shubman Gill, Gurkeerat Singh, Rahul Tripathi, Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Kuldeep Yadav, Lockie Ferguson, Pat Cummins, Prasidh Krishna, Sandeep Warrier, Shivam Mavi, Varun Chakravarthy, Andre Russell, Sunil Narine, Tim Seifert

KKR retained most of its key players and just released a handful of them ahead of the season; they released Tom Banton, Chris Green, Siddesh Lad, Nikhil Naik and M Siddharth.

New signings:

In the auctions, the Kolkata Knight Riders had a busy time. Their biggest buys were Shakib Al Hasan and Ben Cutting, two highly experienced all-rounders who can change the game with both the bat and the ball. Apart from them, KKR also bought Harbhajan Singh who will add a lot of experience to the KKR line-up. Karun Nair, Sheldon Jackson and Pawan Negi have a lot of domestic experience and have been added to the KKR squad. KKR also bought Vaibhav Arora and Venkatesh Iyer.

Strengths:

1. Game Changing Overseas All-Rounders

Many IPL teams struggle to get one proper overseas all-rounder in place, but KKR has 4 of them. Sunil Narine and Andre Russell are capable of some real power hitting. Russell in particular had changed many games with the bat in the 2019 season of IPL. To add to it, both are great with the ball. KKR’s new recruits, Shakib Al Hasan and Ben Cutting are experienced T20 players and will add a lot of value to the team.

2. Leadership Team

While the Kolkata Knight Riders did have a change in captaincy from Dinesh Karthik to Eoin Morgan in the previous season, they did manage to adjust well to the change. This season, KKR will be led by Eoin Morgan who comes with loads of leadership experience and a brilliantly calm demeanour. KKR also has Dinesh Karthik and Pat Cummins in the leadership roles which will only bolster their think tank. To add to that, their coach is Brendon McCullum who is also known for having a calm head. That’s one hell of a relaxed atmosphere!

IPL 2020: Dinesh Karthik Hands Over KKR Captaincy to Eoin Morgan

Dinesh Karthik and Eoin Morgan (Image: Kolkata Knight Riders | Instagram)

3. International Experience

KKR’s two key domestic players, Shubman Gill and Prasidh Krishna had a good 2020-2021. While Shubman Gill strengthened his spot in the Indian Test team, Prasidh made his debut in the ODI team. It is said that good fortunes in Indian colours impact the performance of the players. These two might have learned a lot spending time with the best players in the Indian dressing room and will be eager to show their skills for KKR.

Weaknesses

1. The Russell Issue

In the 2019 season, Andre Russell was unstoppable and ended as the highest run-scorer and the highest wicket-taker for KKR. To add to it, he took some spectacular catches. In the 2020 season, he failed in both departments and injuries haunted him the entire season. His form will be a massive plus to KKR and if it is not good, then KKR will struggle.

2. Weak Spin Department

Varun Chakravarthy was a breakout bowler KKR in the last season. He also ended up as the highest wicker-taker for KKR. But apart from him, none of the bowlers did well. In particular, the spin department was a disaster. Kuldeep Yadav failed in the few chances he got and Sunil Narine had a disastrous season too. This year, they’ve added Harbhajan to their spin team. Hopefully, he still has his past magic and can guide the team to victory.

X-Factor

IPL is where I get most goosebumps, want to retire in KKR jersey: Andre  Russell | Sports News,The Indian Express

Andre Russell (Image: Kolkata Knight Riders | Instagram)

Andre Russell, when at his best, can hit any bowler out of the stadium and can bowl scary bouncers at will. Him having a bad season in 2020 costed KKR a few games. But you can never rule him out, can you?

Featured Image: Kolkata Knight Riders | Instagram

Pre-Season Analysis: Royal Challengers BangaloreRajasthan Royals, Chennai Super Kings, Sunrisers Hyderabad

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