KKR Playing 11 IPL 2021: Kolkata Knight Riders splurged a grand total of INR 81.80 crore to fill their 25-player quota for IPL 2021.
Kolkata Knight Riders had spent INR 7.55 crore for eight players in the recently concluded auction for the 14th season of the Indian Premier League with ace Bangladesh all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan (INR 3.2 crore) and veteran India spinner Harbhajan Singh (INR 2 crore) being their two most costliest buys.
Among their six other buys last month, Kolkata acquired the services of an overseas all-rounder as a potential replacement for Andre Russell (if he gets injured), a trio of Indian batsmen, an Indian all-rounder and an uncapped Indian pacer.
Knight Riders, who lost out on knockout qualification last season due to their net run rate, are likely to find themselves in an unusual position of not making multiple changes to their Playing XI despite a mediocre IPL 2020.
The Eoin Morgan-led team is likely to take the field in their season opener against SunRisers Hyderabad with more or less a same XI hoping for their bankable players to stand tall on their potential.
KKR Playing 11 IPL 2021
In IPL 2020, KKR had used Sunil Narine, Shubman Gill, Tom Banton, Rahul Tripathi and Nitish Rana as their opening batsmen. While Narine opening the batting will continue to allure mixed views, it is a gamble their team management should play especially in the first few matches. Narine, who has it in him to provide a quickfire start in the powerplay, will complement Shubman Gill at the top of the order.
Having scored 1,000 runs in 40 innings across three seasons at an average and strike rate of 27.03 and 138.70 including seven half-centuries, there shouldn’t be much discussion around batsman Nitish Rana’s batting position.
The juggernaut of the game will be plying his trade as a Knight this season 🤩
— KolkataKnightRiders (@KKRiders) March 12, 2021
In what is needless to say, captain Morgan and wicket-keeper batsman Dinesh Karthik will be expected to contribute significantly in the middle overs. Karthik, in particular, would be wanting to stage a turnaround after registering one of his most disappointing IPL season last year.
Either Kolkata could bat one of their Indian batsmen after Rana or use him according to the situation in the middle-order. If it comes to play that one batsman No. 7, either of Sheldon Jackson or Pawan Negi should be able to perform the job of using the long handle from the word go.
Shakib, who had represented KKR for six seasons before joining SunRisers, is back for a second stint but accommodating him won’t be mean task for the team management. The simplest way of playing Shakib is playing him in Narine’s place. In such a situation, Shakib will become the perfect fit to bat at No. 4.
As far as the above discussed Indian batsman is concerned, he can open the batting alongside Gill. It is worth mentioning that the likes of Tripathi, Karun Nair and Venkatesh Iyer are all suitable options when it comes to opening the batting. That being said, the same will result in Knight Riders having a couple of anchoring batsmen in the powerplay.
Given how both of them had performed in the last season, it is understandable that Pat Cummins and Varun Chakravarthy will continue to lead Kolkata’s bowling attack in the forthcoming season as well. Although it remains unlikely in the first few matches, it will be interesting to see how Kolkata fit in the likes of Kuldeep Yadav and Harbhajan Singh in their Playing XI.
The remaining two positions will go to a couple of Indian fast bowlers. Thankfully, Knight Riders have them in abundance. However, two out of Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Shivam Mavi and Prasidh Krishna should start for KKR this season.
KKR Playing 11 IPL 2021 – 1) Sunil Narine 2) Shubman Gill 3) Nitish Rana 4) Eoin Morgan (c) 5) Dinesh Karthik (wk) 6) Andre Russell 7) Sheldon Jackson 8) Pat Cummins 9) Kamlesh Nagarkoti 10) Shivam Mavi 11) Varun Chakravarthy