We take a look at the Kolkata Knight Riders in the build-up to the new IPL season.The biggest news for the Kolkata Knight Riders came well before the start of the 2017 auction – the news that Andre Russell copped a one-year ban from the ICC following his failure to file his whereabouts on three separate instances in 2015; which is an offence treated with the same severity as a failed drugs test.
That said, KKR did have a pretty good Auction bringing in Chris Woakes and the immensely talented Rovman Powell. They don’t look a half-bad bet at 15/2 – let’s take a look at their prospects below:
The two-time IPL champions actually look in decent shape heading into this season’s tournament. Some shrewd acquisitions in the auction to build on an already talented squad could see them push the likes of the Mumbai Indians and the Royal Challengers Bangalore.
Jacques Kallis has the luxury of picking between two of the most exciting young all-rounders in the world at the moment. Granted, Woakes has been around for quite some time now and has performed consistently on both domestic as well as international level.
There is real excitement about ‘Andre Russel Junior’ as many have taken to calling the effervescent Rovman Powell. The West Indian dynamo exploded onto the scene and into the greater cricketing consciousness with his final and semi-final performances for Jamaica in the West Indian List A competition. He’s a power hitter in the truest sense of the term and will relish playing on flat IPL wickets – definitely one to keep an eye on!
All in all, the Knight Riders have one of the most well-balanced squads in the tournament. Trent Boult and Umesh Yadav and Nathan Coulter-Nile are magnificent quicks who will no doubt thrive on the pressure engineered by the spin duo of Sunil Narine and Shakib Al Hasan.
The man who has set the Big Bash alight over the last two seasons, Chris Lynn will be available for the side along with Darren Bravo who joined up with the squad after fetching $74, 000 at the auction. The vastly experienced duo of Gautam Gambhir and Robin Uthappa will open things up at the top of the order with home-grown talent like Manish Pandey, Suryakumar Yadav and the powerful Yusuf Pathan all set to play important roles in the side.
One to Watch: Chris Lynn
The Australian is one of the most exciting batsmen in the world at the moment and should take to IPL conditions like a fish to water. He's capable of hitting even the most experienced bowlers out of the attack, especially on the benign sort of wickets he's likely to play on in India.
I think the Knight Riders will surprise one or two naysayers at IPL 10. They’ve quietly gone about building a formidable team that strikes the perfect balance between bat and ball. Don’t for a second believe that they can’t win this competition because of their price. I’m backing them to make it all the way to the final.