Twice IPL champions Kolkata Knight Riders will strive for consistency in their attempts to recreate old magic lost during a difficult phase of recovery after leaving Gautam Gambhir.
Whether it was a starting combination, a middle row or finding a finisher, KKR fought for stability in the last edition in the UAE, while the change of captaincy at the half stage did not help them either.
Add the shapes of the two biggest Caribbean stars – the half-fitting Andre Russell and Sunil Narine, which is not even half a bowling alley after being repeatedly called for suspicious activity, KKR missed the playoffs for the second time in a row in the Gambhir era.
Here is a SWOT analysis of the country that will take over Sunrisers Hyderabad at the opening of their season in Chennai on April 11.
IN Eoin Morgan, his first stay as a regular captain of KKR, the purple brigade has one of the most insightful brains in the form of white balls. The World Cup-winning English skipper, who took over after seven games last season, was one of the best places for the team in 2020.
The left-hander hit 418 runs for 14 assists at an average of 41.80 and also hit a maximum of sixes (24), boosting deaths with his cameos.
KKR has made some smart additions to its team in the mini-auction, in addition to keeping its core of the country – 17 players – despite a disappointing season.
Through the return of the Bangladeshi star to the all-encompassing Shakib-Al-Hassan and the signing of 2016. IPL final match man Ben Cutting, they received much-needed backups for the Windies duo from Narine and Russell, who failed to fire last season.
KKR will also be supported by the striking international debut of Prasid Krishna, who took 4/54 in the first ODI against England in the recently concluded series.
This would also mean that KKR will have a leisurely attack led by the Australian superstar. Pat Cummins with Loki Ferguson as a backup option.
After their strength, KKR has recently been struggling in the spinning department. Left wrist spinner Kuldeep yadav is a shadow of his past and has been retuned with just one wicket in five games, of which he has not been given the ball in one. One of the architects of their twins triumphed in 2012 and 2014 under Gambhir, Sunil Narine is also slow.
Narine’s actions haunted him again in 2020, as he was warned of suspicious actions and continued to miss four games. He had previously had to be removed from the CPL final for Trinbago Knight Riders as he was found to board.
This was another mysterious spinning player, Varun Chakravarti, an architect from Tamil Naoud, who became a cricket who took responsibility in Narine’s absence to finish with the most wicket – 17 – for KKR.
But Chakravarthy’s fitness is under the scanner again and again, as it remains to be seen how he prepares for IPL.
Decided to retire from the captain to “focus on cotton wool”, Dinesh Kartik will also look to be fixed in 2021.
Then there is the seasonal duo Shakib-Al-Hassan and veteran Indian descendant Harbhajan Singh, who will also strive to make the most of the limited opportunities that appear on the slow tracks offered in Delhi and Chennai.
KKR have two interesting new uncovered new signatures in Venkatesh Iyer and Vaibhav Arora, who will also be trying to seize their opportunities. Madhya Pradesh Ayer’s left-handed batsman is fresh from the bubbles with 146 balls 198 against Punjab in the Vijay Harare trophy.
Himachal Pradesh’s mid-range Arora is in shape for life after taking a hat-trick in his debut against Maharashtra in the Vijay Hazare trophy.
KKR will need a good start from the opener Shubman Gil to give better starts this year in Powerplay overs. Gill consumes a lot of pre-supplies in most games that put pressure on the middle line.
Morgan’s side would make sure they got a winning combination, something they’d missed last time because they were desperate to make the cut.
KKR Squad for IPL 2021: Eoin Morgan (c), Dinesh Karthik, Shubman Gill, Nitish Rana, Tim Seifert, Rinku Singh, Andre Russell, Sunil Narine, Kuldeep Yadav, Shivam Mavi, Lockie Ferguson, Pat Cummins, Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Sandeep Warrier, Prasidhish Krishna , Varun Chakravarti, Shakib Al Hasan, Sheldon Jackson, Vaibhav Arora, Harbhajan Singh, Karun Nair, Ben Cutting, Venkatesh Iyer and Pawan Negi.