‘CSK need Bravo’s replacement. KKR will target three players': Ex-India star's prediction for IPL 2023 auction
Former India batter Robin Uthappa feels KKR need a wicketkeeper, preferably an Indian, a backup for Andre Russell, who has a tendency to attract injuries and a fast bowling backup to Shardul Thakur and Umesh Yadav.
Kolkata Knight Riders may not have a wealth of money remaining in their purse ( ₹7.05 crore) going into the IPL 2023 auction on December 23 but by releasing as many as 16 players from their squad, they have given a clear signal of an overhaul. Out of those 16, at least three of them were forced as Australia Test captain Pat Cummins and England's Alex Hales and Sam Billings had made themselves unavailable for the next season but the likes of Ajinkya Rahane, Shivam Mavi, Sheldon Jackson, Aaron Finch were all let go the by the franchise to build a new team under new head coach Chandrakant Pandit.
In between, KKR acquired the services of all-rounder Shardul Thakur, wicketkeeper-batter Rahmanullah Girbaz and fast bowler Lockie Fergusson. So what do they need in the auction on Friday? What gaps do KKR desperately need to fulfil? Former India batter Robin Uthappa feels they need a wicketkeeper, preferably an Indian, a backup for Andre Russell, who has a tendency to attract injuries and a fast bowling backup to Shardul Thakur and Umesh Yadav.
“KKR would be looking for three players in this auction – one would be an Indian backup wicketkeeper for Gurbaz. In case they want flexibility in playing both Tim Southee and Lockie Ferguson, Gurbaz is the one who would have to sit out as they are not going to drop Sunil Narine and Andre Russell. The second player is a backup to Andre Russell. IPL is going back to its original format. So, it is not going to be just one or two venues. There will be a lot of travel. KKR is one such team that travels the most. Kolkata is really far away and they travel at least 2-3 thousand km more than all other teams. So, keeping those things in mind, you will have to have a backup just in case, Russell pulls up or he has not recovered due to back-to-back matches. Third would be an Indian fast bowler who would be a backup to Shardul Thakur and Umesh Yadav. They have a couple of youngsters in their group, but they would like to get somebody like Jaydev Unadkat," Uthappa, who had played a pivotal role the last time KKR won the IPL in 2014, said on Jio Cinema.
The former batter also shared his thoughts on Chennai Super Kings and added that the MS Dhoni-led side would look to get the services of Sam Curran back.
“CSK, they need an all-rounder to replace Dwayne Bravo and they need a solid India middle-order batter as a backup for the players that they already have. In that, I think they will look for the likes of Sam Curran because he has already played for CSK in the past, he’s done well for them and has contributed to their success so they will definitely try and go for him. The second one would be an Indian batter in the middle order and the ones that are available in this auction seem to be like Manish Pandey, he has done exceptionally well in the IPL and is also someone who is experienced and would really enjoy playing in the CSK culture. These are the two players they will go for but in case they don’t get them – I am certain there are other options that they already have.”