The two-time Indian Premier League (IPL) champions, Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR), have faced turbulent times, finishing 7th in the 2022 and 2023 editions. This lackluster performance prompted significant changes ahead of the 2024 auctions, with the release of 12 players, including the shocking departure of Shubman Gill, who has since become an important part of Gujarat Titans (GT) and is now the captain.
Gautam Gambhir’s return
In a bid to revive past glory, KKR turned to their former captain, Gautam Gambhir, appointing him as a mentor for the upcoming season. Gambhir’s leadership and wealth of experience are expected to provide invaluable guidance to the team.
The IPL 2024 auction saw KKR make headlines with the most expensive signing in IPL history. Mitchell Starc, secured for ₹24.75 crore, became the cornerstone of their overseas acquisitions, showcasing the team’s determination to bolster its ranks with world-class talent.
Strengthening overseas contingent
Alongside Starc, KKR strategically added to their overseas lineup with acquisitions like Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Sherfane Rutherford and Gus Atkinson. These additions complement the retained overseas players – Andre Russell, Sunil Narine, Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Jason Roy, forming a formidable squad for the upcoming season.
Irfan Pathan’s insights regarding overseas picks for KKR
Former India all-rounder Irfan Pathan, in a discussion on Star Sports, provided insights into the team composition. Emphasizing the importance of Starc, Russell and Narine, he highlighted Narine’s effectiveness on turning pitches, a trait appreciated by mentor Gambhir. Pathan also suggested Gurbaz as the preferred choice over Roy for a wicketkeeper-batter role.
“They will have to play Mitchell Starc, Andre Russell and Sunil Narine. These three are confirmed. If those (turning) pitches are there, Narine has to play. Gautam (Gambhir) actually likes it that way. He likes playing on the slow pitches and that is where he became champion a couple of times,” Pathan said.
“Then they will have to leave out either Jason Roy or Rahmanullah Gurbaz. Only one of them can play. If they want to go with a wicketkeeper, then Jason Roy has to sit out. Then Gurbaz will play,” the 39-year-old concluded.
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