Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) have already written their name in golden letters in the history of Indian Premier League (IPL), being one of the three teams to win the IPL trophy more than once (2012 & 2014). The Shah Rukh Khan co-owned team has always been one to look out for thanks to all of its glitz and glamour associated with it.
In IPL 2018 auction, KKR began a new chapter by parting ways with their two-time IPL winning captain Gautam Gambhir and revamped their squad. They had retained Sunil Narine and Andre Russell beforehand and bought Piyush Chawla, Robin Uthappa and Chris Lynn using the Right to match cards.
KKR was the only team to exhaust their whole purse during the auction and bought 19 players in total, including some of the hottest India U19 stars. However, they were hit by a slew of injuries to their players, with Chris Lynn dislocating his shoulder, Russell hurting his leg and Mitchell Starc hurting his right shin.
Out of them, Andre Russell has joined the KKR preparatory camp and Lynn has started preparing himself for a return. Starc, however, has been ruled out of the tournament and KKR have called in South Africa born English fast bowler Tom Curran as a replacement.
Let’s have a look at the strengths and weaknesses of the Kolkata Knight Riders team in IPL 11
The biggest strength of the KKR IPL 2018 team is their spinners. With three of the best spinners in the game today in Kuldeep Yadav, Sunil Narine, and Piyush Chawla, KKR is ready to take full advantage of the Eden Gardens pitch.
If and when Chris Lynn gets healthy and joins the squad, KKR will have a very good opening combination in Lynn and Uthappa or Sunil Narine. Narine was brilliant for them in IPL 2017, hitting the fastest IPL fifty in one of the matches. Though it was a big gamble to have Narine open in IPL 2017, it would be interesting to see, if they repeat it again this year.
They will hope that Lynn can make it to the tournament as early as possible since he has the ability to change the game in a matter of few overs.
Their new captain Dinesh Karthik is in blazing form, thanks to his heroics during the Nidahas Trophy and his confidence will be sky high. A very good thing for KKR is that they have two of the best young fast bowlers in Shivam Mavi and Kamlesh Nagarkoti in their team. They will provide some very good support to the experienced Mitchell Johnson and Vinay Kumar.
Now a look at the weaknesses of the KKR IPL 2018 squad
The biggest weakness that KKR has is the inexperienced middle order which will have the likes of Ishank Jaggi, Andre Russell and U19 star Shubman Gill. Gill had a very good U19 World Cup, which India won; but here he will be facing some of the best and fastest bowlers in the world.
Their next point of weakness is their pace attack. Now with Mitchell Starc out of the tournament, KKR will rely on Mitchell Johnson and Vinay Kumar, who albeit having loads of experience, are past their prime. KKR has decided to invest in U-19 pacers Kamlesh Nagarkoti and Shivam Mavi, but they will face some heaviest hitters in the world in the tournament and their inexperience may cost KKR.
Starc’s replacement Tom Curran will also be playing in the IPL for the first time and though he is talented, KKR has no other option but to have faith in him.
The duo of Kamlesh Nagarkoti and Shivam Mavi were the best investments KKR did in the IPL 2018 auction. Both the bowlers, especially Nagarkoti clocked over 140 kmph easily in successive matches and to view them bowling to the best batsmen in the tournament.
Kolkata Knight Riders have invested for the future rather than the present. This means that they will find the going very tough for them and more likely will find themselves in the bottom half of the points table in the IPL 11.
KKR IPL 2018 squad:
Dinesh Karthik (C),Sunil Narine, Andre Russell, Chris Lynn, Tom Curran, Robin Uthappa, Kuldeep Singh Yadav, Piyush Chawla, Nitish Rana, Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Shivam Mavi, Mitchell Johnson, Shubman Gill, Ranganath Vinay Kumar, Rinku Singh, Cameron Delport, Javon Searless, Apoorv Vijay Wankhade, Ishank Jaggi