IPL 2023: After the mini-auction, KKR’s best-predicted playing XI
Under the new direction of Shreyas Iyer, Kolkata Knight Riders entered the 2022 Indian Premier League season with hopes of winning the IPL championship a third time. However, they were unable to string wins together, and with six wins from 14 games, they were able to finish in seventh place.
KKR released 16 players from their roster in an effort to clear their names. They were quite active in the trading window, expanding their roster with players like Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Lockie Ferguson, and Shardul Thakur. At the auction, the Kolkata franchise also made some wise purchases. For instance, they chose premium athletes at their base pricing, including David Wiese, Shakib Al Hasan, and Litton Das. Let’s have a look at KKR’s starting XI as they attempt to put on a better performance in the 16th IPL season.
Here is the playing XI of KKR after the conclusion of the mini-auction:
1. Venkatesh Iyer
The second half of the IPL 2021 was completely dominated by Venkatesh Iyer’s spectacular exploits. With his stroke play, he dismantled top-notch assaults and gave his team quick beginnings. The 27-year-old had a strike rate of 128.47 while scoring 370 runs in 10 games. Additionally, he was skilled with his medium tempo and secured three kills at an 8.11 economy.
The success of Venkatesh’s batting helped KKR advance to the championship game, and as a result, the team’s management decided to keep him for the 2022 campaign. The southpaw’s performances, however, were rather average, as he managed to score only 182 runs in 12 games with a strike rate of 107.69. He also failed to make any contact with the ball.
Due to his all-around talent, Venkatesh gives the team depth, therefore Kolkata decided to keep him for the upcoming competition. Before being forced to withdraw from the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy 2022 due to an ankle ailment, the Indore native displayed his talent by scoring 189 runs in four games at a strike rate of 161.53 and claiming six wickets for Madhya Pradesh. In the 16th IPL season, the legendary all-rounder will try to steal the show with both bat and ball.
2. Rahmanullah Gurbaz (wk)
One of Afghanistan cricket’s most intriguing prospects is Rahmanullah Gurbaz. He is renowned for playing a bold kind of cricket and attacking the opposition right away. In 35 T20I matches, the 21-year-old has amassed 896 runs at a strike rate of 138.27.
Additionally, Gurbaz has demonstrated his talent in T20 leagues all around the world, scoring 2730 runs in 108 T20 matches with an exceptional strike rate of 152.94. In the Caribbean Premier League in 2022, he was equally impressive, smashing 157 runs in six games at a strike rate of 140.17.
The wicketkeeper-batter was fairly impressive and scored 249 runs in nine games during the just finished Lanka Premier League at a strike rate of 157.59. The Kolkata management is hoping that the star batsman maintains his strong run of play and uses his bat to help his team win games.
3. Shreyas Iyer (c)
Shreyas Iyer has served as India’s run-bank in white-ball competition. In 49 T20I appearances, he has scored 1043 runs with a strike rate of 135.98. The talented batsman earned 2776 runs in 101 matches with a strike rate of 125.38 while playing in the lucrative T20 tournament.
Iyer was purchased by Kolkata Knight Riders for INR 12.25 crore during the 2022 mega auction, and he was made the team captain. The 28-year-old had an impressive resume before joining his new team, having led the Delhi Capitals to the playoffs in the 2019 and 2020 seasons. However, he was unable to repeat the same magic. With six victories in 14 games, KKR finished the season in seventh place.
Iyer, however, was outstanding with the bat and led the Kolkata team in runs scored with 401 runs in 14 games at a strike rate of 134.56. The Indian hitter would like to improve upon IPL 2022 and make it his own. Additionally, he and Chandrakant Pandit, the new head coach of KKR, would like to guide their team to the championship.
4. Nitish Rana
A seasoned performer in the Indian Premier League, Nitish Rana. In the lucrative league, the 28-year-old has played in 91 games and has contributed 2181 runs with a strike rate of 134.22. In the previous IPL season, he performed admirably, scoring 361 runs in 14 games at a strike rate of 143.82.
The batter is a crucial component of the KKR setup. Rana can quickly alter gears to put the opposition on the defensive while also having the ability to calm the ship when the team is in difficulties. Along with his hitting abilities, the Delhi native also makes a valuable contribution with the ball and is usable in advantageous matchups.
In recent times, the Delhi-born athlete has been absolutely spectacular at home. In SMAT 2022, he participated in eight games and amassed 317 runs at a strike rate of 139.03. Rana also claimed 11 wickets for an economy of 6.95. For Kolkata, he would like to do well in the forthcoming campaign.
5. Rinku Singh
A bankable name in the home circuit has been Rinku Singh. In 75 T20 games, he has appeared, and he has scored 1294 runs with a strike rate of 137.95. He has given the innings a boost and assisted in turning the tide of the match in his side’s favour by slotting in at the middle of the order.
Since 2018, Rinku has a relationship with the Kolkata Knight Riders. In his first few seasons with the team, he was unable to capitalise on his opportunities. The Aligrah-born player ignited the arena with his batting prowess in the previous edition. In seven games, he scored 174 runs at a strike rate of 148.72.
Rinku performed equally well in the just-completed Vijay Hazare Trophy 2022. In his nine outings for Uttar Pradesh, he amassed 335 runs at a strike rate of 103.39 in nine games. The veteran batsman has been in excellent form lately and will try to continue it during the forthcoming IPL season.
6. Andre Russell
In the quickest variant of the game, Andre Russell is one of the most obnoxious batters. The expert all-rounder has established his dominance in T20 competitions all around the world. He is a match-winner with both bat and ball. He has also been very impressive in the IPL, amassing 2035 runs in 98 games at an astounding strike rate of 177.88 and claiming 89 wickets at an economy of 9.14.
Russell has excelled in the role as KKR’s gun-finisher when the team gets the ball. He has played the roles of a specialist in death overs and an enforcer with the ball during the middle stages of innings. In the fifteenth season of the wealthy league, the seasoned cricketer displayed his all-around strength.
With a strike rate of 174.48, the Jamaican-born player scored 335 runs in 14 games for Kolkata Knight Riders. He had a 17-wicket bowling performance for his team. In the 16th IPL season, the legendary all-rounder would once more attempt to perform at the top of his game.
7. Sunil Narine
In the T20 league, Sunil Narine has been a behemoth of a player. In the shortest format, he has amassed an absurd total of 474 wickets in 435 games and scored 3355 runs at a strike rate of 146.63. The 34-year-old joined KKR for his IPL debut in 2012 and has been connected to the team ever since. With both bat and ball, he has been a game-changer for the squad.
Narine has taken 152 wickets in 148 IPL games at an economy rate of 6.63 while confusing hitters with his multiple variations. Additionally, he has scored 1025 runs at a great strike rate of 162.70 while playing several breathtaking innings for KKR.
Narine was at the top of his game in the previous edition as well, taking nine wickets in 14 games at a fantastic economy of 5.57. Additionally, he struck out 177.50 times while scoring 71 runs. The spin wizard will one again hold the cards for KKR with the ball when they enter the stage in the forthcoming competition.
8. Shardul Thakur
In the lucrative T20 tournament, Shardul Thakur has consistently delivered. The 31-year-old has played in 75 games and has 82 wickets to his credit with an economy of 9.06. He is also an excellent hitter, having scored 173 runs with a strike rate of 129.10.
The Kolkata franchise paid a staggering price of INR 10.75 crore to hire Shardul, who was moved from the Delhi Capitals. He is a cunning bowler with a flair for consistently making breakthroughs and the capacity to contribute crucial runs to his team.
Shardul is a bowler of exceptional calibre who can bowl during any stage of the game. He will assist Umesh Yadav with the new ball for KKR, and he will also perform well during slog-overs. The addition of the bowling all-rounder also improves the side’s depth at the plate.
9. Umesh Yadav
Umesh Yadav has a track record of success for India in the game’s longest format. He has played in 54 games, taking 165 wickets at an average of 30.21 in those games. The 35-year-old has performed admirably in the lucrative T20 event as well, taking 135 wickets in 133 games for an 8.32 economy.
Umesh was chosen by the Kolkata franchise at the 2022 super auction to bolster the pace attack with experience. In the 15th edition, the Nagpur-born player was at his most best and caused mayhem with the ball. In his 12 appearances, he took 16 wickets at an economy of 7.06.
At the beginning of the innings, the elite pacer made the ball talk and gave KKR early breakthroughs. Umesh will once again be given the responsibility of handling the new-ball throughout the forthcoming season. He intended to use his experience to his advantage and succeed in the IPL setting.
10. Lockie Ferguson
In white-ball cricket, Lockie Ferguson has been a strike force for New Zealand. He can consistently hit 150 kph, and his ferocious pace has destroyed even the finest hitting teams. The 31-year-old has played 28 T20 Internationals and claimed 41 wickets with a fantastic economy rate of 7.36 in the shortest format.
Ferguson has shown off his bowling skills in the IPL as well, taking 36 wickets in 35 games for an 8.43 economy. The speedster was a part of KKR’s lineup from the 2019 to 2021 seasons, and the organisation chose to reinvest in him for the following one. As a result, the Kiwi pacer was traded by Gujarat Titans to the Kolkata club.
Ferguson’s acquisition broadens the bowling and adds another dimension to the speed attack. The Auckland-born player will be relied upon to provide the goods in the middle overs and the dying stages of the innings, and he will strive to fulfil the task to the best of his ability.
11. Varun Chakravarthy
Varun Chakravarthy was acquired by Kolkata Knight Riders for INR 4 crore at the IPL 2020 auction. The unidentified spinner turned out to be a brilliant purchase since he wove a web around the opposition, taking 17 victims in 13 games at an economy of 6.84. He continued to work his magic in the subsequent season, taking 18 wickets in 17 games.
Varun, though, fell far short of his peak in the lucrative T20 tournament’s 15th iteration. The hitters appeared to play the top spinner easily because he lacked aggression in his deliveries. He played in 11 games, but just six of them resulted in wickets, with an economy rate of 8.51.
Varun’s performance was subpar, but the Kolkata franchise still believes he can succeed in the upcoming season. The team’s management would like to see the 31-year-old rediscover his spark and become the match-winning player he once was.