With a revamped coaching staff and team management, two-time champions Kolkata Knight Riders will look to plug in the remaining gaps in the upcoming IPL Players’ Auction, scheduled to be held on December 19.
Ahead of the auction, KKR have the second-highest purse remaining at their disposal with Rs 35.65 crore. The Kolkata-based franchise made headlines when they released some high-profile names which included the likes of Robin Uthappa, Chris Lynn, Carlos Brathwaite and legspinner Piyush Chawla.
A maximum of 11 slots are to be filled by KKR, seven domestic and four overseas. We take a look at five players on whom KKR can invest at the auctions.
1. Jason Roy
After parting ways with Australia’s Lynn, KKR would be desperate to find an ideal replacement for him at the top. Keeping this in mind, England’s explosive opener Jason Roy could emerge as their ‘go-to man’ next season. Roy skipped the last season of IPL to concentrate on his international commitments, including the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019.
The 29-year-old batsman made the most of the opportunity during the quadrennial event (CWC 2019) and has added to his burgeoning reputation as one of the most hard-hitting openers in modern cricket. Roy amassed 443 runs in eight ODIs at an impressive average of 63.28 at the World Cup earlier this year and played a vital part in England’s victorious World Cup campaign.
2. Priyam Garg
Besides the likes of Yashasvi Jaiswal, R Sai Kishore and Virat Singh, Priyam Garg is expected to be one of the popular U-19 players to be up for grabs during the auction. With a base price of Rs 20 lakh, Garg has lately made headlines after being appointed as India’s captain for next year’s U-19 Cricket World Cup in South Africa.
Garg raked up more than 800 runs in his debut Ranji season with Uttar Pradesh last year. However, his strike rate of 132.74 in 11 T20s so far is perhaps what’s going to help him bag a hefty tag. Garg can play an ideal foil in KKR in an already impressive middle order comprising Shubman Gill, Nitish Rana and skipper Dinesh Karthik.
3. Glenn Maxwell
Australia’s Glenn Maxwell has always been one of the most sought players in the IPL because of his ability to strike big and also contribute with the ball. After donning the Delhi Daredevils jersey in the 2018 season, Maxwell sidelined himself from the IPL last year to focus on the World Cup 2019. However, with a plethora of experience under his belt – 69 IPL matches and 1397 runs – the Victorian batsman has put himself under highest reserve base price bracket of Rs 2 crore. Keeping in mind Andre Russell’s injury-prone body and his match-fitness, KKR might look to avail the services of the ‘Big Show’ this season.
4. Sam Curran
England’s young allrounder Sam Curran broke into the limelight last year after he bagged a dream contract with Kings XI Punjab who shelled out a whopping Rs 7.2 crore to get him on board. Despite a decent season with KXIP, Curran was released by the team ahead of the IPL players’ auction. He scored 95 runs from nine matches at a strike rate of 172.72 and claimed 10 wickets at a strike rate of 19.80. It also included a hat-trick against Delhi Capitals. With no Brathwaite in their ranks, KKR might look to invest in Curran for being a possible second allrounder in the team. Curran has put himself in the Rs 1 crore base price bracket.
5. Ravi Bishnoi
After releasing a seasoned campaigner like Chawla, the KKR management might have signalled a major change in their strategy in the next season of the T20 tournament. With only Sunil Narine and Kuldeep Yadav at their disposal – Kolkata will need another slow-ball bowler who can fill Chawla’s void and also put brakes on the scoring rate.
To fit the bill, 19-year-old Ravi Bishnoi looks to be a wonderful prospect for KKR in the next edition of IPL. A legspinner with a superb googly, Bishnoi is a handy lower-order batsman and also an equally impressive fielder. The Jodhpur-born Bishnoi has all the traits to excel in the shorter format and that could well put him in everyone’s radar during the players’ auction on Thursday. Bishnoi had recently shown his pedigree in the youth ODIs where he picked up 12 wickets in seven matches at an economy rate of 4.37. Also, his wrist spin can work to his advantage and this might raise his stocks at the auction.
Kolkata Knight Riders Squad (Retained players): Dinesh Karthik, Andre Russell, Sunil Narine, Kuldeep Yadav, Shubman Gill, Lockie Ferguson, Nitish Rana, Rinku Singh, Prasidh Krishna, Sandeep Warrier, Harry Gurney, Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Shivam Mavi.
KKR Released players: Chris Lynn, Carlos Brathwaite, Robin Uthappa, Piyush Chawla, Nikhil Naik, KC Cariappa, Joe Denly, Srikant Munde, Yarra Prithviraj, Anrich Nortje
Slots left: 11 (seven domestic, four overseas)
Purse remaining: Rs 35.65 Crore