It is absolutely commendable. The team that everyone at the start of the season termed as the early contender of the last position, ended up reaching as far as competing the second qualifier. Kolkata Knight Riders surprised everyone by picking the kind of squad they did and surprised even more by the kind of performances they put up right throughout the tournament.
They built their side around the matchwinning prowess of Dinesh Karthik as the wicketkeeper-batting captain with Sunil Narine, Chris Lynn and Andre Russell in their top six and allowing the kind of balance that most teams envy. Here's a team with eight overs, four explosive T20 batsmen with one of them wearing the gloves, all in their top six. You will win on more days than you won't with this balance, much like KKR did.
The youngsters like Nitish Rana, Prasidh Krishna, Shubman Gill and Shivam Mavi as well, caught everyone's attention by doing their roles immense justice at various stages of the team's campaign.
Kuldeep Yadav, Piyush Chawla and Sunil Narine playing together and doing well by combining the highly enterprising wicket-taking with the invaluable miserliness, as the season showed, is one of Kolkata Knight Riders biggest strength.
Dinesh Karthik as a captain too exhibited signs of progress in thinking and his tactical nous. He is an ever-evolving person and that reflects in his Captaincy. All in all, one would have to say KKR has the core group of players they can take forward to the future and yet, it is crucial to focus on the personnel that perhaps should not feature for them next year if progress and well-roundedness is, like it must be, envisioned and aimed for.
Hence, team COC gets down to analyze and list out five such players who should not be featuring for them next year.
1. Vinay Kumar
It is tough on someone who has always come across as a very hardworking trier in Indian Cricket but Vinay Kumar is not the bowler you bowl protecting the 17 in the final over of a run-chase against Dwayne Bravo. It is as much reflective of Vinay Kumar's issues as a T20 bowler as it is of Bravo's prowess. He doesn't get the kind of help from the pitches in the IPL that he enjoys from the surfaces playing Ranji Trophy for Karnataka. He doesn't have the pace and variations as a bowler to hit the tough lengths harder. Not the cricketer to persist with if you look to better your T20 side.
2. Javon Searles
Javon Searles was seen playing in the Carribean Premier League by the KKR set-up and it got them excited. Here's a young all-round cricketer that most teams like having in their team but KKR already had one big man doing that job in their line-up. It has to be said, from what was seen, Javon Searles didn't look a player who walks into an Indian Premier League first eleven. The IPL can be way too big a stage for a cricketer at a stage in his career. Javon Searles looks one such player.
3. Tom Curran
He looks a fine young cricketer who is passionate to do well and show his mettle but the way he played for Kolkata Knight Riders this year, you can't help but feel Tom Curran isn't the player who should be trusted to do the tough roles, like bowling in the powerplay and the death, at this stage of his career. KKR has the arsenal to win the middle overs and that leaves players like Curran as underperforming misfits in the side. He needs to become a better T20 bowler if he is to play for KKR again.
4. Mitchell Johnson
One of the best left-arm fast bowlers in the modern day game is coming to the finish line. Mitchell Johnson in his prime had an outstanding season for Mumbai Indians once but when he bowled for Kolkata Knight Riders this year, it just reiterated the sentiment that he isn't the force he use to be. When you see a young Prithvi Shaw stand tall on the front-foot and hit pull him a few rows back, you realize Mitchell Johnson is coming to the end. All good things comes to the end.
5. Rinku Singh
Watching Kolkata Knight Riders play, when with Rinku Singh in their eleven, one got the impression that he is watching a 10 member team. Rinku Singh was purchased as a batting floater in the auction but such cricketers have hardly excelled in the IPL history. To be able to walk into an Indian Premier League first eleven of a successful franchise, you need to be an exceptionally skilled cricketer in your field. Rinku Singh is not yet that cricketer.