Kolkata Knight Riders

IPL 2023: Best Predicted Playing 11 for Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR)

A young squad in focus as we look at the best predicted playing 11 for Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) for IPL 2023.

After finishing as the runner-up in 2021, the Kolkata Knight Riders’ performance took a dip in 2022 under the new management and leadership. Shreyas Iyer, who did well as a captain for Delhi Capitals couldn’t manage to spin the magic in the Knight Riders side in 2022.

However, a new year and many new faces should pave the way for new hope for the Knight Riders in 2023. The Knight Riders may not have the most competent side as compared to the other teams, but they do have a well-balanced side with the presence of a potential few match-winners. 

Given the player options they have, it would be interesting to see what playing 11 they adopt for IPL 2023. So, in this article, we would explore the best playing 11 option for Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) along with a few more options depending on the situation for IPL 2023. Before that, let’s look at the official squad for KKR for IPL 2023. 

IPL 2023: Official Squad for Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR)

Batters: Mandeep Singh, Nitish Rana, Rinku Singh & Shreyas Iyer (c)

WKs: Litton Das (o), N Jagadeesan & Rahmanullah Gurbaz (o)

All-rounders: Andre Russell (o), Anukul Roy, David Wisse (o), Shakib Al Hasan (o), Sunil Narine (o) & Venkatesh Iyer

Bowlers: Harshit Rana, Kulwant Kejroliya, Lockie Ferguson (o), Shardul Thakur, Suyash Sharma, Tim Southee (o), Umesh Yadav, Vaibhav Arora & Varun Chakravarthy

Total Players: 22

Best Playing 11 for Kolkata Knight Riders:

Openers: Rahmanullah Gurbaz [wk] & Venkatesh Iyer

The main headache that the Kolkata Knight Riders would face is while selecting their opening combination. Not a single player in this side is having a guaranteed spot as an opener. But if we observe closely, Venkatesh Iyer was retained by KKR ahead of IPL 2023 Auction. This means, KKR are contemplating opening with Iyer even as he had an ordinary IPL 2022.

So, with Venkatesh Iyer as one of the openers, we are left with three options in the form of Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Litton Das, and N. Jagadeesan. Of the three, potential and talent-wise, Rahmanullah Gurbaz is the deserving candidate. Not only was he retained by KKR, but is also one of the explosive openers going around in the world. 

So, unless for overseas players restrictions, we should see KKR opting for opening Rahmanullah Gurbaz alongside Venkatesh Iyer. But if overseas player restrictions do come into the picture, we should see KKR opting of opening with N. Jagadeesan, who has had a fantastic Vijay Hazare Trophy 2022. 

Middle-order: Nitish Rana, Shreyas Iyer [c] & Rinku Singh

In terms of middle-order, KKR does not have much to ponder upon. Captain Shreyas should play at 4 as he usually does. Whereas he should be surrounded by two left-handers, Nitish Rana and Rinku Singh. While Nitish Rana should play at the number 3 position, Rinku Singh should play as a finisher at the number 5 position ahead of Andre Russell. However, Rinku can also come after Russell if only 4-5 overs are left. 

Lower-order: Andre Russell & Sunil Narine

The lower-order for KKR should most-likely see Andre Russell alongside Sunil Narine. Russell can come at 5 or 6 depending on the number of overs left. Meanwhile, Sunil Narine may not be the best bet for the number 7 position, but KKR doesn’t have any other good all-rounder to fall back to. If KKR doesn’t play Gurbaz at the top, they can opt for Shakib AL Hasan or David Wiese for the number 7 position. 

Bowlers: Shardul Thakur, Lockie Ferguson, Umesh Yadav & Varun Chakravarthy

Coming to the bowling, KKR had earlier traded Shardul Thakur and Lockie Ferguson from Delhi and Gujarat respectively. With the addition of these two alongside 2022 standout bowler Umesh Yadav and mystery spinner Varun Chakravarthy, KKR seems to have a formidable bowling line-up. In case, KKR play N. Jagadeesan at the top, they can also contemplate playing Tim Southee in the side. 

IPL 2023 Best Predicted Playing 11 for Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR): 

Rahmanullah Gurbaz [wk], Venkatesh Iyer, Nitish Rana, Shreyas Iyer [c], Rinku Singh, Andre Russell, Sunil Narine, Shardul Thakur, Lockie Ferguson, Umesh Yadav & Varun Chakravarthy

So, that’s about the best predicted playing 11 for Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) for IPL 2023. Overall, KKR have a rating of 8.28 for their best playing 11. This isn’t too good nor too bad. In addition, KKR can also ponder upon the following three playing 11 options in case they decide to change the strategy. 

Alternate Best Playing 11 Options for Kolkata Knight Riders:

#1: Shakib Al Hasan for Rahmanullah Gurbaz 

KKR have got a good number of overseas players with them which they can use as deemed necessary. If KKR play N. Jagadeesan at the top, they have the luxury to play All-rounder Shakib Al Hasan in the middle-order. That way, Shakib Al Hasan may play at 5, Rinku / Russell at 6/7, and Sunil Narine at 8. Thus with Shakib, KKR are strengthening their lower-order. 

#2: David Wiese for Rahmanullah Gurbaz. 

Another chance that KKR can do is play David Wiese at the number 7 position with N. Jagadeesan opening in place of Rahmanullah Gurbaz. The good thing about this move is that it doesn’t change the batting order much. So, we should have Rinku Singh at 5, Andre Russell at 6, David Wiese at 7, Sunil Narine at 8, and Shardul Thakur at 9. This gives good batting depth to the KKR side with 7 bowling options. 

#3: Tim Southee for Varun Chakravarthy for Pace-friendly conditions 

In the best bowling line-up that KKR have, Sunil Narine and Varun Chakravarthy play as the first-choice spinners in the squad. However, if KKR decide to play N. Jagadeesan as the opener, they have the flexibility to play the fourth overseas player, Tim Southee in place of Varun Chakravarthy for pace-friendly conditions. 

Thanks for reading! What’s your playing 11 for Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) for IPL 2023? Please email your thoughts to business@cricalytics.com

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