Saturday, March 2, 2024

Ipl Auctions 2021: Kolkata Knight Riders – Major Areas of Focus and Players They Should Target

Kolkata Knight Riders narrowly missed out on a playoff spot in the 2020 season. Coach Brendon McCullum therefore mentioned that they did not need to make many changes for the upcoming edition. The auctions for the upcoming seasons are all set to take place on 19 February and KKR have released just 5 players ahead of the auctions.

As we near the auctions, here we look at the list of players retained, which areas they need to focus on and who should they target in the auctions:

PLAYERS RETAINED: Dinesh Karthik, Andre Russell, Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Kuldeep Yadav, Lockie Ferguson, Nitish Rana, Prasidh Krishna, Rinku Singh, Sandeep Warrier, Shivam Mavi, Shubman Gill, Sunil Narine, Eoin Morgan (c), Pat Cummins, Rahul Tripathi, Varun Chakravarthy, Harry Gurney, Ali Khan, Tim Siefert

PLAYERS RELEASED: M Siddharth, Nikhil Naik, Siddhesh Lad, Chris Green, Tom Banton

Auction purse left: 10.85 CR

AREAS OF FOCUS:

Kolkata Knight Riders hold an almost identical look from last season and have most bases covered going into the upcoming season. However, having a deeper look into the squad and nit-picking the weaknesses, here are a few areas they can focus on in the auctions:

Indian Middle Order batsman:

Kolkata Knight Riders have one of the most formidable middle orders in the IPL at present. With some of the most destructive middle order batsmen and finishers (the likes of Karthik, Morgan, Rana and Russell), KKR hold a dangerous look as far as batting is concerned. However, when it comes to bench strength, the options do not provide much confidence. There are not many reliable options for the middle order in case a couple of major players get injured or opt out. Cometh the auctions, they might need to look for some options who can provide backup for middle order.

Left-Arm Orthodox Spin:

The Knight Riders have a really strong spin attack, especially with Varun Chakravarthy rising up to the occasion last season. In an otherwise versatile attack, what they lack is a genuine left-arm orthodox spinner. With the release of M Siddharth, the Man of the Match in the finals of the recently concluded Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, they might look for an option who will provide decent left-arm orthodox spin.

Backup Indian Opener:

While KKR have a line-up which hardly needs any more options in batting, having a reserve Indian opener will hold them in an even better state. Moreover, the fact that there are enough options available from the domestic circuit for the role makes the case of KKR going for an opener even stronger.

PLAYERS TO TARGET:

Based on the requirements and the players available in the auctions, here are a few players KKR should target in the upcoming auctions:

Fabian Allen: The Caribbean all-rounder Fabian Allen is a fierce striker of the ball and is capable of playing the role which Andre Russell plays with the bat. Moreover, what makes him an ideal pick for KKR is the fact that Allen is a more than decent left-arm orthodox spinner too. If not in the starting XI, he can be a perfect backup for someone like Russell.

Avi Barot: One of the best openers in the recently concluded Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, Avi Barot’s scintillating show in the tournament has made his case stronger for him getting an IPL contract. The Baroda opener scored at an impressive strike rate of 184.96 and an average of 56.60. With KKR needing a backup opener and the attacking style with which Barot plays, the KKR management should definitely target him.

Ashutosh Aman: Bihar skipper Ashutosh Aman finished as the leading wicket taker in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy 2020-21, picking 16 wickets, which is one wicket in every 9 deliveries. The 34-year-old left-arm orthodox spinner is yet to get a contract in the IPL and with KKR in need of a player with his skill set, the McCullum-led management might look to get him in the side.

Shakib Al Hasan: Shakib Al Hasan after serving a one-year ban is back to the scene and he might be on the radar of his first IPL team yet again. The need for a left-arm spinner is obvious and in Shakib they have an option who can bat anywhere in the middle order and give 4 overs on a regular basis. Moreover, having played for KKR for so long, Shakib is someone who understands the team dynamics well. With Shakib in the mix, they will have the luxury of replacing Narine in the XI in case the West Indian has a prolonged lean patch.

Mohammad Azharudeen: Setting the stage on fire this season with a 37-ball 100 in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, Kerala’s opener Mohammad Azharudeen is sure to attract decent bids in the upcoming auctions. With KKR needing a decent backup Indian opener, Azharudeen with his style of play might just be the man for Morgan’s team. The 26-year-old opener is yet to make his IPL debut and this season might finally be the year he gets an IPL contract.

Deepak Panda
Deepak Panda
Cricket Aficionado and Data freak, in love with the amalgamation of Data in the game of Cricket and having an impeccable zeal for inculcating statistical analysis in cricket. A business analyst by profession and a cricket analyst by passion, a believer that stats if used in the right way can provide immense amount of insights about the game and the players.
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