IPL 2021: Kolkata Knight Riders - Team profile and full squad
- Eoin Morgan-led Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) will look to end their trophy drought in the 14th edition of the Indian Premier League.
Kolkata Knight Riders' campaign in the last two seasons of the IPL was quite similar. They started off by hitting the right notes but all the tuning seemed to go haywire as the tournament progressed. Their decision to switch captains from Dinesh Karthik to Eoin Morgan mid-way through the tournament last year did not yield the desired result but Morgan is a proven customer and one can hope that he would bounce back strong this year.
Barring Morgan, Shakib Al Hasan and Pat Cummins, KKR don’t have anyone who can claim to be a superstar of international cricket currently but in Andre Russell, Shubman Gill, Sunil Narine and a young pace attack comprising Prasidh Krishna, Shivam Mavi and Kamlesh Nagarkoti, they have a pretty well-balanced side.
KKR full squad for IPL 2021: Shubman Gill, Rahul Tripathi, Karun Nair, Eoin Morgan (F), Nitish Rana, Gurkeerat Mann Singh, Tim Seifert (F), Dinesh Karthik, Sheldon Jackson, Andre Russell (F), Shakib Al Hasan (F), Ben Cutting (F), Venkatesh Iyer, Kuldeep Yadav, Varun Chakravarthy, Sunil Narine (F), Harbhajan Singh, Pawan Negi, Vaibhav Arora, Pat Cummins (F), Lockie Ferguson (F), Prasidh Krishna, Sandeep Warrier, Shivam Mavi, Kamlesh Nagarkoti
The Spin department
KKR have two of the most experienced IPL spinners in Sunil Narine and Harbhajan Singh. Then there is Varun Chakravarthy, who has proven his worth last season carrying the load of KKR spin department. Shakib al Hasan is a match-winner on his day. Kuldeep Yadav may have lost some form but on his day, he can be a wicket-taker.
KKR’s foreign contingent is one of the best if not the best in IPL 2021. Sunil Narine and Andre Russell can win a match on their own. Pat Cummins and Lockie Ferguson have been consistent enough to warrant a place in the starting XI. Shakib was a part of the successful KKR and SRH sides. Tim Seifert and Ben Cutting are one of the best foreign back-ups a team could ask for.
Barring Dinesh Karthik there is no recognised Indian wicket keeper in the side. While Sheldon Jackson is a viable option, his batting abilities are pale compared to Dinesh Karthik. Tim Seifert is another option that is available for KKR but being an opening batsman and an overseas player, the entire complexion of the team will have to be changed to accommodate him.
Replacing Sunil Narine
Sunil Narine has been mediocre at best in recent years but has won sporadic matches for KKR. If KKR are ready to changing the opening pair to Tripathi and Gill – which they did in the backend of last IPL - Shakib could be the perfect candidate to replace Sunil Narine. If they need a seam bowling option, they have Ben Cutting. His lower order hitting will provide Andre Russell more freedom.
Young pace bowlers to shine
Prasidh Krishna, Shivam Mavi, Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Sandeep Warrier and Vaibhav Arora are some young pacers who will be looking to break into the starting XI for KKR.
Sunil Narine and Andre Russell
The Sunil Narine opening experiment has failed more times than it has succeeded. If KKR continue to stick with Narine opening the innings, it pushes all the players down a position which in turn, hampers the KKR batting line up. Andre Russell is one of the biggest hitters in world cricket right now and KKR’s best death bowler. His inconsistency and fitness will keep KKR management on its toes.
Form of the Spinners
Though the spin department is one of KKR’s core strengths, their form may be a cause of worry. Sunil Narine is not as effective after his action came under scrutiny. Varun Chakravarthy would be coming back from an injury, Harbhajan Singh is lacking match practice, Kuldeep Yadav is still struggling to find a place in the T20 set-up. KKR will have to be wary of picking the right spin combination going into the tournament.