IPL 2018: Team Preview - Kolkata Knight Riders

Dinesh Karthik - key player for Kolkata Knight Riders in IPL 2018
©Reuters
 

Over the ten years of the Indian Premier League (IPL), the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) have developed into one of the most formidable teams of the tournament. That has largely been due to a core group of individuals who had thrived under the leadership of former captain Gautam Gambhir. This time though, that might change!

Gambhir has parted ways with Kolkata and has gone back to his hometown Delhi. Not only does that create a huge gap at the top of the batting order, but it also takes away a two-time IPL winning captain from Kolkata’s ranks. While it does provide an opportunity to Dinesh Karthik to do things on his own, one cannot emphasize on how big a loss it was for KKR to lose Gambhir.

To add to their woes, Mitchell Starc had to pull out of the tournament due to injury, leaving them with a depleted pace battery. However, they won’t have to worry too much about it as they have Mitchell Johnson in their ranks. Even though he has retired from international cricket, Johnson has continued to torment batsmen. With Starc out of contention, Johnson becomes the automatic leader of the attack. Giving him company will be the young Indian pace battery of Shivam Mavi and Kamlesh Nagarkoti, who impressed everyone during the recently concluded under-19 world cup. Veteran Indian fast bowler Vinay Kumar returns to Kolkata after four years and completes the pace attack.

The spin department will be led by KKR’s tried and tested trio of Sunil Narine, Piyush Chawla and Kuldeep Yadav. Narine and Yadav would be the frontrunners to grab the spinners slots although one must not forget the contribution Chawla has made to KKR over the years.

All said and done, it is the batting which would be the major worry for Kolkata. Having gone in with only 19 out of a maximum of 25 players, Kolkata’s batting looks weak. Skipper Dinesh Karthik and Robin Uthappa will have to do the bulk of the scoring given the recent fitness issues of the dynamic Chris Lynn. Under-19 batting sensation Shubman Gill will also be looking to establish himself on the international stage. Nitish Rana, who played extremely well for the Mumbai Indians, will be looking to repeat the same for his new team.

Big hitting all-rounder Andre Russell will also be raring to make an impact, having missed the last season due to a doping ban. What will remain a concern for KKR is the fact that they have absolutely no bench strength when it comes to their batting apart from South African all-rounder Cameron Delport and Indian batsman Ishank Jaggi. The lack of batting depth and reserve players might cost them dear this season!

Probable best XI – Chris Lynn, Shubman Gill, Nitish Rana, Robin Uthappa, Dinesh Karthik (c & wk), Andre Russell, Sunil Narine, Vinay Kumar, Mitchell Johnson, Kuldeep Yadav, Kamlesh Nagarkoti

IPL 2017 Position – Fourth place

IPL 2018 Prediction - A difficult one to predict - if they play to their potential, they could go all the way and for all your IPL betting and latest news why not visit our cricket betting and IPL 2018 sections.