During the IPL auction in January, Kolkata Knight Riders had roped in only 19 players – the least among all the eight IPL franchises. At that point in time, the decision of KKR think tank had raised quite a few eyebrows. But now after 39 IPL matches, the franchise are quite pleased with their smaller pool of players.
The KKR side are currently placed at No. 4 on the points table and have tried as many as 15 of the 19 players thus far. Interestingly, the other team that have used the same number of players as Knight Riders is Mumbai Indians.
Robin Uthappa, one of the key members of the KKR camp, on Monday (May 7) said that a smaller squad size provides the sense of security and responsibility amongst players, especially the uncapped domestic ones.
“With a small squad, the roles are well defined. Boys have a clearer picture of what their roles are within the unit. It doesn't take too long to get to know one another personally. And I think everyone gets to travel with the team, no one's left behind. So I think the sense of unity is a lot more,” Uthappa quoted according to Sportstar.
Besides, Uthappa reckons a smaller pool of players also results in better team-bonding.
“Especially for the youngsters, it gives them the sense of clarity that, you know, what direction they're heading in. In my experience, in the last ten years of IPL, the fewer changes you make within a side, the more successful you tend to be. So I think with a smaller squad you also have that many fewer options so it gives you a better chance of being successful,” he added.
Explaining the pros and cons of a smaller group, Uthappa feels the condition of replacing an injured player half-way into the tournament also helps to restrict squad size.
“There are more pros than cons. The IPL allows us that if in the first seven games anyone gets is injured and we need a replacement, we will be able to replace them. So I think that also helps in the fact that you can have a smaller squad,” he concluded.