Kolkata Knight Riders have always been a team that prides itself on taking bold decisions. Their decision to let go of Saurav Ganguly in 2011, which remains one of the boldest calls taken by any franchise, and build a new side around Gautam Gambhir could have backfired spectacularly.
But it turned out to be a master stroke from KKR, as Gambhir led the Kolkata franchise to two IPL titles in three years. The Delhi batsman was a tremendous success at the club, and still retains a deep affinity for the franchise and city.
Now KKR are once again at the cross roads, as they have apparently decided to release their legendary captain. While they could still use their RTM card for Gambhir, they have already hinted at getting a new captain.
And we saw this in the auction today, as KKR did not exercise their RTM card for their legendary skipper.
But the Kolkata franchise ran into a spot of trouble with Manish Pansey, as the middle-order batsman’s price went through the roof. Pandey eventually went to SRH for Rs 11 crore, which went far beyond KKR’s budget.
KKR spent heavily on two Aussies, Chris Lynn and Mitchell Starc. Lynn returns to the Kolkata franchise, as the big hitting all-rounder will be looking to stay fit and dominate this season of the IPL/
Starc went for a huge bid of Rs 9.40 crores, as the Aussie surprisingly went for a huge amount. Starc’s quality is never in doubt, but his fitness is.
KKR then went on to spent close to Rs 15 crores for Dinesh Karthik and Robin Uthappa, as their fans scratch their heads in disbelief.
Both players would have been great buys a couple of seasons back, but at 32 years of age, neither Uthappa nor Karthik are long term solutions to KKR.
As it stands, KKR will have Lynn, Narine, Uthappa, Karthik and Russell as their batting line-up, with Starc and Russell taking care of the bowling department.
With Kuldeep Yadav still to come in the auction, KKR fans will pray that they can retain the services of their star slow bowler.
Let’s wait and watch!