Strengthening the batting, the key focus area for KKR as we look at their strategy for IPL 2020 Auction.
Kolkata Knight Riders are one of the 3 teams to have made a lot of changes to their squad. They released a total of 10 players, and retained a total of 13 players ahead of IPL 2020 Auction, which includes 4 overseas players in the form of Andre Russell, Sunil Narine, Harry Gurney, and Lockie Ferguson.
Interestingly, KKR have made some really surprising choices in the list of released players. Not only have they released some big expensive guns in the form of Chris Lynn, Robin Uthappa, Carlos Brathwaite, and Piyush Chawla, but also some more quality players like Joe Denly and Anrich Nortje.
Kolkata Knight Riders’ retained squad before IPL 2020 Auction:
Total Retained Players: 14 | Total Purse Available: INR 3565L
Batsmen: Dinesh Karthik(WK), Rinku Singh, Shubman Gill, and Siddhesh Lad.
All-rounders: Andre Russell, Nitish Rana, and Sunil Narine.
Bowlers: Harry Gurney, Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Kuldeep Yadav, Lockie Ferguson, Prasidh Krishna, Sandeep Warrier, and Shivam Mavi.
Looking at their current squad, Kolkata Knight Riders stand nowhere close to even selecting a good playing 11. They have retained a lot of bowlers; most of which are young guns, but are short of a good firepower in their batting department.
So, what gaps Kolkata Knight Riders need to address? Let’s look at the strategy Kolkata Knight Riders need to adopt for the IPL 2020 Auction.
#3: Strong Replacements for Chris Lynn and Robin Uthappa.
KKR surprised everyone by releasing Chris Lynn in the Auction pool, when in fact he did well in IPL 2019. His stats from IPL 2019 read 405 runs from 13 innings at a strike rate of 139.65. While the exact reason for Lynn’s exclusion may not be known, his expensive price tag could be the main culprit.
Robin Uthappa, on the other hand, didn’t do well for KKR in 2019, but part of the reason could be linked to a flawed batting-order strategy by KKR. In IPL 2019, KKR looked clueless with the role of Sunil Narine, Shubman Gill, Nitish Rana, and Robin Uthappa in the batting-order.
Nevertheless, the loss of Chirs Lynn and Robin Uthappa has certainly created a void of experience as they now have only Shubman Gill as their designated opener, and Sunil Narine as the other option.
So, KKR can either look to re-buy both, Chris Lynn and Robin Uthappa at a bargained price, or look for a similar substitute in the batting department. Similar substitutes could be Jason Roy, Aaron Finch, Colin Munro, Evin Lewis, etc.
#2: A Good Backup Spinner for Kuldeep Yadav and Sunil Narine
Kolkata Knight Riders released two spinners from their squad in the form of Piyush Chawla and KC Cariappa, and retained two quality spinners, Sunil Narine and Kuldeep Yadav.
There is no doubt over the quality of Kuldeep Yadav and Sunil Narine, but these two spinners haven’t had the bests of the tournament in IPL 2019. While Narine could only manage 10 wickets from 12 games, Kuldeep Yadav had a horror tournament with just 4 wickets from 9 games.
It is almost certain that the Team management would keep faith in these two, and play them for as many matches as possible. However, a wise strategy would be to acquire the services of a good spinner along with a backup spinner.
#1: Revamp the Middle-order
If we had to select KKR’s batting-order based on the current setup of players, it would be as follows. Sunil Narine and Shubman Gill to open, followed by Nitish Rana, Dinesh Karthik, and Andre Russell.
If we observe the line-up closely, KKR are short of 2 good batsmen for the playing 11; one at the top, and one in the middle-order. On top of it, they also need a good backup middle-order batsman to strengthen the middle-order.
KKR have plenty of good overseas options to look for in the middle-order department. The list includes Eoin Morgon, Glenn Maxwell, David Miller, Sam Billings, etc.
So, that’s the strategy KKR need to adopt for IPL 2020 Auction. Which players do you think KKR should target? Let’s know in the comments section.
Adesh Kothari is the founder of AK4Tsay1 Cricalytics.
Cricket to him is like what ‘Football is to Lionel Messi’, ‘Singing is to Lata Mangeshkar’, ‘Dancing is to Michael Jackson’, and what ‘Acting is to Clint Eastwood’.
Besides his effervescent love for Cricket, Adesh is an MBA by qualification.