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.
Reports are now coming in that the KKR franchise are looking to build a new side around Ajinkya Rahane. The graceful batsman has shown promise as skipper in the past, as his aggressive style of captaincy has drawn praise from several quarters.
While Rajasthan Royals could bring him back using their RTM card, Rahane is expected to leave the franchise and try his fortunes elsewhere.
Kane Williamson is another name that has made the rounds as a viable skipper for KKR. But history is not on the classy Kiwi’s side, as KKR have always tended to field multi-dimensional foreign stars.
The likes of Sunil Narine, Andre Russell and Shakib Al Hasan provided both batting and bowling skills, which made them quite attractive to KKR. Also, the fact that KKR always preferred Indian captains works against Williamson.
Other than Rahane, the other Indian captains present in the auction pool are Shikhar Dhawan and Ravi Ashwin. Dhawan had a terrible time as skipper of the Sunrisers Hyderabad, and was replaced midway through the season by Darren Sammy.
Ashwin would be an interesting option, but with the KKR track expected to have a lot of assistance for the seam bowlers, the accomplished spinner may find it tough to get the nod.
Rahane has always been someone who preferred the ball to come to the bat, with his average in the SENA countries (South Africa, England, Australia) close to 50. His prior experience as a skipper also works in his favour, which is why Rahane looks like the likely candidate at this point in time.
Let’s see what happens!