IPL 2018: Robin Uthappa is an integral part of KKR, says assistant coach Simon Katich

All the 8 Indian Premier League franchises are busy finalising their squad ahead of the 11th season of the T20 extravaganza. While team’s like Kings XI Punjab, Chennai Super Kings and Delhi Daredevils have announced their captains for the upcoming season, 2-time champions Kolkata Knight Riders are one of the teams that are still weighing their options before officially announcing their captain. And KKR’s assistant coach Simon Katich feels that Robin Uthappa could prove to be an integral part of the Kolkata side in IPL 2018.

Bagging Uthappa at IPL 2018 auction ‘a big plus’, says Simon Katich

Speaking ahead of the 11th season, KKR coach Simon Katich spoke highly of about Robin Uthappa, who is currently the front-runner to take over the captaincy cap at the KKR following the departure of Gautam Gambhir to Delhi Daredevils. The former Australian batsman said,

“Getting Robin Uthappa was a big plus for us, he had a magnificent season last year and has been an integral part of the successful campaigns in 2012 and 2014. So there is no doubt that someone with his experience, we are very pleased to have him back in the fold.”

Robin Uthappa has captained the KKR team before and has also led his domestic side for quite a few matches. Katich believes that being wicket-keeper, Uthappa is in the perfect place to judge the situation of the match and make the necessary changes. The 42-year-old said,

“In terms of his role, obviously he has captained before and been behind the stumps, something as we have seen with someone like Dhoni, it’s a crucial role behind the stumps but from the captaincy point of view they have got the best seats in the house.”

“That is something we will have to consider because Robin has had some success in domestic cricket with his captaincy and from that point of view he is a very experienced player, who’s got the respect of the team.”

Kolkata Knight Riders had a very good auction in January, they managed to bring in some power players in the form of Chris Lynn, Dinesh Karthik, Andre Russel, Mitchell Starc and Shubman Gill. However, following the completion of the auction, KKR were criticised for not having any leaders in the squad. Addressing the criticism, coach Katich said,

“It’s funny because there was a little bit of commentary regarding KKR squad after the auction saying that there was a lack of leadership but from our point of view we feel we have a lot of very very good leadership options in our squad. So it will be a tough decision to decide who gets the role and who missed out, their all very good candidates.”

KKR will open their campaign against Royal Challengers Bangalore at the Eden Gardens on 8th April. The opening match of the tournament will see defending champions Mumbai Indians take on the returning Chennai Super Kings at the Wankhede Stadium.