The runners-up of the 2021 edition entered the TATA IPL 2022 Mega Auctions with the purse value of 48 crores INR. After having retained the big guns in the form of leg-spinner Varun Chakravarthy (INR 8 crores), all-rounders Venkatesh Iyer (INR 8 crores), Sunil Narine (INR 6 crores), and Andre Russell (INR 12 crores), the challenge with the franchise was to create a well-balanced and all-round squad.
During the last auction KKR had emphasized acquiring the youngsters, but day 1 was rather contrasting to their old approach. KKR’s bidding management made full use of the purse price in acquiring some moguls on Day 1. Therefore, they could be considered as one of the biggest bidding beneficiaries on Day 1 of the mega auction. KKR decided to stick with most of the players that were part of the side in the 2021 edition.
The two-time champions (in 2012 & 2014) are hailed for making surprising comebacks, as they did in the previous edition. They were hanging at the basement of the points table in IPL 2021 but astonished everyone with their performance in the second leg of the tournament in the UAE by reaching the finals. At the same time, KKR is also known to have smart investments into players, especially the match-winners such as Andre Russell, Venkatesh Iyer, and Varun Chakravarthy.
Kolkata Knight Riders on IPL 2022 mega auction Day 1
Apart from the retained players, KKR hit the headlines for shelling out a whopping 12.25 crores INR on Shreyas Iyer, who predictably became one of the highest-paid players on Day 1. Iyer's acquisition also unfolds his name as a strong contender for leading the side. KKR also got back two of its players Pat Cummins (7.25 crores INR) and Nitish Rana (8 crores INR) for fancy amounts. Besides, the focus on uncapped players was also a highlight of Day 1 for the KKR following the inclusion of Shivam Mavi for (7.25 cores INR) and Sheldon Jackson (60 lakhs INR). Here is what the squad of KKR looks like after the Day 1 of the TATA IPL 2022 mega auction.
Top bids of KKR on Day 1
Shreyas Iyer (Sold for INR 12.25 crore)
Already touted as one of the biggest bids this auction, Shreyas Iyer will now join KKR, and possibly lead the side in IPL 2022 and the future. Iyer was among four Indian players in the 10-player marquee list. He has been a marquee pick for the matter that he led the revamped Delhi franchise into the finals of the IPL 2020. He missed the first leg of the tournament last year, but the records have spoken in his favor. Since making his debut in 2015, Iyer has racked up 2375 runs in 87 matches he has played so far.
Pat Cummins (Sold for INR 7.25 crore)
The Australian pacer, Pat Cummins was the most expensive player in the 2019 auctions when KKR acquired him for 15.5 crores INR. This time, the franchise bought him back for 7.25 crores INR. His mettle has had a lasting impression on KKR with the two half-centuries he smacked during high-pressure matches for the side 53* and 66* as his personal best scores in 2020 and 2021, respectively. Moreover, he can also be of good assistance to Iyer if he becomes the captain. With the ball, the lanky pacer can bowl with discipline during the power-play overs and death overs.
Nitish Rana (Sold for INR 8 crore)
The left-handed stylish batter was bought back by the KKR from the auction pool for a price of 8 crores INR. For acquiring Nitish Rana, KKR had to put a bidding fight with Lucknow Super Giants and Mumbai Indians. The southpaw bolsters KKR’s middle order with his presence and bowls occasionally if needed. So far, he has played 77 matches and scored 1820 runs at an average of 28.43.
Kolkata Knight Riders squad IPL 2022
Retention: Andre Russell (INR 12 Crores), Varun Chakravarthy (INR 8 Crores), Venkatesh Iyer (INR 8 Crores), Sunil Narine (INR 6 Crores)
Batters & Wicketkeepers: Shreyas Iyer (INR 12.25 Cr), Sheldon Jackson (INR 0.60 Cr)
All-rounders: Pat Cummins (INR 7.25 Cr), Nitish Rana (INR 8 Cr), Shivam Mavi (INR 7.25 Cr)
Total players: 9 (Indian- 6 & overseas- 3)
Remaining Purse- ₹12,65,00,000
Form a strong top-order batting-lineup
While KKR bidding management managed to get hold of some of the hot talents on day 1, their concern would be to build the rest of the team with just 12.65 crores in their purses. Their calculation on day 1 seemed far-fetched, after having not acquired any from the bowlers’ pool. But the major concern would be the absence of top-order batting. Venkatesh Iyer, Andre Russell, and Nitish Rana have a proven record when batting in the middle order. Although Nitish Rana has opened for the side on some occasions, the concern persists. KKR has struggled with top-order batting, therefore, the major area of focus during Day 2 of the auctions would be to acquire good batters who can solve the franchises’ long-pertaining issue.