KKR (File Photo)
New Delhi, 7 April: The team of two-time winners Kolkata Knight Riders will have to focus on maintaining balance in this season of IPL. Kolkata’s team could not make it to the playoffs due to poor net run rate last season. The three teams had 14 points and Royal Challenger Bangalore and Sunrisers Hyderabad had a net run rate of plus 0.608 and mines 0.172 respectively, while Kolkata had a net run rate of 0.214 and placed fifth. Last season for Kolkata, Sunil Narine and Andre Russell of West Indies could not perform as expected. Kolkata’s team has Bangladesh all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan who can replace Narayan in the team. Shakib can give momentum to the team in the middle order. In the event of Russell’s flop, Kolkata have batsmen like Dinesh Karthik and captain Eoin Morgan who can prove to be dangerous for any team bowler in the death overs. Nitish Rana landed as the opening batsman last season and it is expected that he will be in the same role this season. Kolkata also has Shubman Gill who has done well recently.
Apart from the bat, Shakib can also prove useful for the team with the ball, especially Chennai’s MA. He can prove to be crucial in the opening match at the Chidambaram Stadium where the spinners get help. Australian fast bowler Pat Cummins will lead the front with the young bowler Krishna. Apart from these, Russell is also an option in fast bowling. New Zealand fast bowler Gourd Ferguson can also be an option when compared to Kolkata in Mumbai and Bengaluru. The team’s assistant coach Abhishek Nair said, our team is a balanced team. I think we need to make sure that all the players are in the right frame so that they can perform well in the tournament. Also read: IPL 2021: IPL to be played amid night curfew in Mumbai, Maharashtra government granted permission with these rules
The Kolkata team is as follows:
Shubman Gill, Nitish Rana, Tim Seifert (wicketkeeper), Rahul Tripathi, Rinku Singh, Dinesh Karthik (wicketkeeper), Eoin Morgan (captain), Andre Russell, Sunil Naren, Varun CV, Kuldeep Yadav, Pat Cummins, Lauki Ferguson, Kamlesh Nagarkoti , Shivam Mavi, Sandeep Warrier, Famous Krishna, Shakib Al Hasan, Sheldon Jackson, Vaibhav Arora, Karun Nair, Harbhajan Singh, Ben Cutting, Venkatesh Iyer and Pawan Negi.
Support Staff: Brendon McCullum (head coach), Abhishek Nair (assistant coach), Kyle Mills (bowling coach), James Foster (fielding coach), David Hussey (mentor) and Nathan Lymon (Consultant Strategist).