Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) were perhaps the only team who came away dissatisfied from the IPL 2018 Auctions. After losing Gautam Gambhir and Manish Pandey, KKR managed to sign key overseas players Mitchell Starc, and Mitchell Johnson ahead of the next IPL season.
KKR managed to keep hold of their long-serving overseas players Andre Russell, Sunil Narine, and Chris Lynn and will hope for an outstanding season from all of their overseas stars. KKR also managed to add Dinesh Karthik and Nitish Rana to their setup while Robin Uthappa and Kuldeep Yadav will form a strong nucleus of Indian players in their squad.
KKR’s coaching staff will have to juggle through their options and decide on the final four players who will play most number of matches for them in the IPL 2018. Kolkata Knight Riders are most likely to go in with a mix of overseas and Indian players and hope for a successful IPL 2018 campaign.
4 overseas players Kolkata Knight Riders should play in IPL 2018:
It is almost a no-brainer for KKR to use Chris Lynn at the top order to fire them to quick starts and perhaps it will be their biggest avenue to win matches. Lynn was at his destructive best where he had scored 295 runs from 7 innings at an average of 49 and a stunning strike rate of 180+.
The only worry for Lynn is his fitness which restricted him to play just 7 matches for KKR and Lynn’s injury concerns coming into the IPL 2018 remain the same after he missed few matches for Brisbane Heat in this year’s Big Bash League.
KKR spent INR 9.6 Cr to keep hold of Lynn after deciding to not retain him at the IPL Auctions. Having spent over INR 9 Cr on Lynn, KKR will definitely use Lynn and play him as one of the 4 allowed overseas player in the Indian Premier League.
The big man from the Caribbean will make his much-awaited return to the Indian Premier League and KKR fans will hope that he has the same impact on the team he had when they won the IPL back in 2014.
Russell has made rapid strides since returning from his 12-month ban for using banned substances and he will be a key figure in Kolkata Knight Riders’ batting and bowling unit. Russell’s ability to tonk the ball against any attack has been Kolkata’s biggest strength in the past and his bowling in the death overs is another asset for the KKR unit.
Another familiar figure for Kolkata Knight Riders is Sunil Narine who made a name for himself after some tactical genius decided to send him as an opener where Narine scored 224 runs at a healthy strike rate of over 170.
Narine picked 10 wickets in IPL 2017 but found a new role in the KKR team with his batting prowess. Him and Lynn at the top of batting order set all sorts of powerplay records in IPL last season and if those two are at it, we can see similar carnage which will be too much to handle for the other IPl sides.
Kolkata Knight Riders were determined to sign a world-class overseas bowler to improve their bowling unit and they ended up spending INR 9.4 Cr on signing the Aussie star Mitchell Starc.
Given Starc’s availability, he will definitely be one of the 4 overseas players KKR will use in the IPL 2018 and hope to get early wickets and mean death overs from the left-arm pacer. Starc is known to be a wicket-taking bowler and whoever ends up captaining KKR in IPL 2018 will relish the opprtunity of having Starc, Russell and Narine as his strike bowlers.