Sunil Narine not playing: Kolkata Knight Riders will take the field without their star all-rounder in IPL 2021 season opener.
During the third match of the ongoing 14th season of the Indian Premier League between Sunrisers Hyderabad and Kolkata Knight Riders in Chennai, Sunrisers Hyderabad captain David Warner has won the toss and chose to field.
“We’re bowling first. This wicket will play a little different, it’s a lot drier. There wasn’t much dew in the last training session, and so that won’t make much of a difference. We know what we can chase to be honest, and we prefer doing that,” Warner told Star Sports at the toss.
Apart from Warner, Hyderabad have three other overseas players in their XI namely Jonny Bairstow, Mohammad Nabi and Rashid Khan. The move means that they have left out the likes of Kane Williamson and Jason Holder for their season opener.
While designated wicket-keeper batsman Wriddhiman Saha will keep wickets at the MA Chidambaram Stadium tonight, it will be interesting to see if he opens the batting with Warner. With Bairstow batting at No. 4 for England lately, SRH could use him in a similar role to strengthen their middle-order.
Why is Sunil Narine not playing vs SRH?
Unperturbed by the toss, Kolkata Knight Riders captain Eoin Morgan was neutral with respect to batting first. A huge development from the KKR camp is that they have included Shakib Al Hasan for Sunil Narine as their fourth overseas player.
Shakib, who had made his IPL debut for Knight Riders in IPL 2011 and represented them for six seasons, has returned to the franchise after three years.
While Morgan wasn’t asked about Narine, the move was slightly expected due to Narine’s diminishing returns with both the bat and the ball in the last year or so. Narine, 32, hasn’t played in the format since IPL 2020 in the UAE.
“I haven’t looked at the coach dynamic but they have been magnificent in the background. We missed out narrowly last year with qualifying so we will try and go one better this time,” Morgan told Star Sports at the toss.
— KolkataKnightRiders (@KKRiders) April 11, 2021
Veteran India spinner Harbhajan Singh, who had last played competitive cricket almost a couple of years ago, has been handed a debut by KKR. It is worth mentioning that the franchise had bought him for his base price of INR 2 crore in the auction earlier this year. In Kolkata, the 40-year old player will be playing for his third IPL franchise.