The countdown to IPL 2018 has already started with the IPL retentions. Interestingly it the event was also broadcasted live where all the franchises spoke about the players retained for the next season.
The next big date is January 27 and 28, the auctions for the prestigious eleventh edition of the Indian Premier League. All the franchises will try to find the right combination and balance and so will be Kolkata Knight Riders.
Two-time IPL champions under Gautam Gambhir’s captaincy KKR has been one of the most followed IPL teams over the past decade and several of their players have garnered the huge fan following for themselves.
With all the players up for auctions, Team Circle of Cricket gets down to jotting down a list of players which the franchise can aim to buy in the upcoming auctions.
Brendon Mccullum: Mccullum was a part of the KKR outfit in the first three years of the IPL. He was also the captain of the side in 2009. Since then Mccullum has played a lot of franchise T20 cricket overseas and has developed his game by leaps and bounds. His stint with Chennai Super Kings in collaboration with MS Dhoni has helped many memorable games together.
Now leading Brisbane Heat in the BBL, Mccullum has been leading the side by example and KKR if they rope him in will get an ideal captain to lead the side in Gambhir’s absence who is unlikely to be playing with KKR again.
Chris Lynn: Another top order batsman KKR should vouch for in the IPL auctions is Chris Lynn. Lynn was a part of the KKR squad since 2014 and showed his true colors in the last IPL season before being ruled out with a shoulder injury, something which is he still nursing. Lynn currently has been ruled out if the Australian ODI squad for the England series and also from the remainder of the BBL series. Getting Lynn back KKR would sort out the openers slot and the “Bash brothers” as they are fondly referred to in BBL will be back to decimating the opposition bowlers. Besides their batting both Lynn and Mccullum are outstanding fielders as well which can be an added benefit for their side.
Ben Stokes: Now that ECB has given Ben Stokes the NOC to participate in IPL 2018, Ben Stokes will surely attract the eyeballs of the franchises. KKR lost Stokes to Pune in the IPL auctions in 2017. Stokes had a fabulous IPL debut season where he scored a hundred and had a key involvement in taking Pune to the finals. Stokes would be the ideal find for a team who favors playing all-rounders in the side. With Andre Russell already retained by KKR, Stokes’ inclusion in the team would perfect the balance of the team. Again apart from their all-round quality of batting and bowling both these players can inspire the team with their fielding which always adds up for the team.
Kuldeep Yadav: Kuldeep Yadav whom the franchise released before the retention can be another spinner who they franchise can aim to buy. Kuldeep has been a perfect foil for Narine in the past and has been they key to KKR’s success. He has been useful both at hiome in Eden Gardens and away as well. Both these bowlers with many tricks up their trade can cause some serious problems for opposition batsmen.
Trent Boult : Trent Boult was another key component of the KKR outfit in the last season. With him fresh for an IPL auction this year, KKR should definitely go for the left arm Kiwi pacer and his good friend Tim Southee and try roping them in together. It would be a perfect combination of swing and pace given the fact that if they retain Umesh Yadav who has been a match winner for them in the past seasons.
Umesh Yadav: An Indian pacer, a category which Umesh perfectly fits the bill for can be brought again by the KKR franchise. Umesh’s raw pace and control will be handy and he will be a perfect combination for someone like a Trent Boult who swings it both ways. He picked up 17 wickets in the last season and has been impressive ever since he has been playing for the franchise. His experience of playing the league over the years and being in the KKR outfit will be handy.
Manish Pandey: A consistent performer for KKR in the past, Manish Pandey is another tired and tested IPL performer. He has notched up over 1500 runs for KKR over the past four seasons that he has been associated with them. He can be the perfect number four for the team, someone who is a busy player and can keep the scoreboard ticking in the middle overs.
Interestingly all of the above mentioned players apart from Ben Stokes played for KKR at some point in time for KKR in their IPL careers. If KKR manages to rope these players in the upcoming auction they can very well form the core of the team and build the team up on the back of their experience.
It’s a fresh new season and a fresh new start for the franchise. KKR, if they want to win IPL 2018 can very well bank on these players to do the job for them.