Updated: Feb 18
Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) full squad details, analysis, list of bought players at auction and MI possible playing XI for IPL 2022.
After around 18 hours for two days, the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2022 mega-auction got completed on Sunday as all the teams have fulfilled their wish-list of building their teams with a long-term vision.
They say that half of the tournament gets won on the auction table and Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) who finished their last campaign as runners-up, have made a few tweaks in their structure. Perhaps, after releasing captain Eoin Morgan, they have included Shreyas Iyer for a whopping INR 12.25 crores for the likely leadership job
Kolkata Knight Riders Full Squad
Venkatesh Iyer (retained), Alex Hales, Ajinkya Rahane, Baba Indrajith, Pratham Singh, Ramesh Kumar, Rinku Singh, Abhijeet Tomar, Shreyas Iyer, Aman Hakim Khan, Sheldon Jackson, Sam Billings, Andre Russell (retained), Sunil Narine (retained), Anukul Roy, Nitish Rana, Mohammad Nabi, Varun Chakaravarthy (retained), Chamika Karunaratne, Ashok Sharma, Rasikh Salam, Tim Southee, Shivam Mavi, Umesh Yadav, Pat Cummins
Let’s take a look at the prospects of their troops.
KKR Batters - Shreyas Iyer, Ajinkya Rahane, Rinku Singh, Alex Hales, Sam Billings
The Knight Riders have added several batters in their side at their respective base prices mostly on the second day. From Nitish Rana, who enjoyed a huge cheque of INR 8 crores to Ajinkya Rahane, Rinku Singh, Shreyas Iyer, Sheldon Jackson and Sam Billings, the purple fans will watch a stable batting line-up in the upcoming IPL season.
But their problem is going to be having no real explosive opener to begin the innings. Even though, they have signed England batter Alex Hales for INR 1.50 crores, to maintain the balance of the playing eleven they may add Sam Billing as wicketkeeper, in which case Hales may need to sit out for most games.
It will be interesting to see whether they somehow promote Sunil Narine again in the opening zone to get firepower to their innings, otherwise it will be tough for them when they will be looking for an expressive start to chase a massive target.
KKR All-rounders - Mohammad Nabi, Andre Russell, Nitish Rana, Chamika Karunaratne, Venkatesh Iyer
All-rounders are generally the life of any side in any format in this sport and KKR have backed their core in that zone for many seasons. It goes without saying what can Andre Russell do in those last 6-7 overs, whereas even with the ball he can provide few overs and pick up important scalps by breaking partnerships.
His fellow and another West Indies player, Sunil Narine, is really vital in the set-up of KKR. Even though he has some problems with his fitness and bowling action, it is still a nightmare for batters to read him and his economy of 6.44 in 2021 spells his effect.
Also, amongst the Indian all-rounders, they have a young Venkatesh Iyer who had also made his way to the national side on the back of his superlative performance in IPL 2021. Anukul Roy and Mohammad Nabi will add an extra flavour to KKR’s spin recipe by rolling their arms over when the team needs them.
Bowlers - Pat Cummins, Tim Southee, Shivam Mavi, Tim Southee, Umesh Yadav
It is so vital for any team to begin the bowling well and finish it off in restrictive fashion in the death overs. Kolkata had a huge problem last time around when their fast bowlers weren’t able to pick wickets in the powerplay or in terms of leaking too many runs in the last overs to lose the momentum; the absence of sheer pace in the brand new season can hurt them again.
They have a good mix of Indian and international bowlers but a close look can easily paint a different picture altogether. They have brought back Umesh Yadav in the side but there are doubts whether he can be successful in that death-over job while Shivam Mavi is still inexperienced. It remains to be seen how KKR manages to fill the void of the express Lockie Ferguson. Even though, they have included Tim Southee and Chamika Karunaratne, who will play his first IPL season, Kolkata still seem to be riding on the same boat.
Pat Cummins will miss the first few games of the tournament due to his national commitments and if Kolkata doesn’t fix their right eleven in the first couple of games to start well, the trend of the tournament tells how hard it becomes to come back in the competition.
KKR Spinners - Sunil Narine, Varun Chakaravarthy, Anukul Roy
Last season, the main reason for the success of Kolkata was the spin duo of Varun Chakaravarthy and Sunil Narine who picked up crucial wickets in the middle overs besides keeping it tight to score freely and with the addition of Mohammad Nabi and Anukul Roy, the Knights will be again banking heavily on their lead pair of spinners along with their lieutenants in Roy and Nabi, this time around.
Talking of the drawbacks, KKR may end up lacking a credible backup wicketkeeping option. Sheldon Jackson, with no IPL experience, will warm the benches in the start while if they go with Sam Billings, they will miss the services of explosive Alex Hales.
Overall IPL 2022 Mega-Auction for KKR
An overall look at the auction room takeaways for Kolkata Knight Riders will say that they have gave a decent performance. They had made a good comeback in the latter part of the second day. Although, going for Nitish Rana for INR 8 crores appears to be high while they bought Shivam Mavi for INR 7.25 crores.
Even with around INR 15 crores left in the bank with at least 9 more players to be added, their thought process of running behind Nicholas Pooran at INR 10.50 crores was questionable.
But if things go in their favour, they can finish in the top-half of the points table of Tata IPL 2022.
Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) Possible Playing XI for IPL 2022
Venkatesh Iyer, Ajinkya Rahane, Shreyas Iyer (c), Nitish Rana, Sam Billings (os) (wk), Andre Russell (os), Sunil Narine (os), Tim Southee (os)/Pat Cummins (os), Shivam Mavi, Umesh Yadav, Varun Chakaravarthy
(Given that Pat Cummins will miss the IPL till April 5)
Alternate XI for KKR
Venkatesh Iyer, Alex Hales (os), Shreyas Iyer (c), Nitish Rana, Baba Indrajith/Sheldon Jackson (wk), Andre Russell (os), Sunil Narine (os), Tim Southee (os)/Pat Cummins (os), Shivam Mavi, Umesh Yadav, Varun Chakaravarthy
The 15th season of the tournament is likely to kick off on March 27. Even though the BCCI is yet to publish the full schedule, the games could take place in Mumbai and Pune behind close doors due to COVID-19 pandemic.