Indian Premier League 2018: One of the most high-profile franchises of the cash-rich Indian Premier League Kolkata Knight Riders retained their core group after the transfer window closed on November 15. The big players who have been retained are Sunil Narine, Andre Russell, Robin Uthappa, Dinesh Karthik, and Chris Lynn. They have also retained young guns like Shivam Mavi and Kamlesh Nagarkoti and Shubman Gill. Also Read - Rajasthan Royals Co-Owner Expects 'Shortened' IPL Season This Year

In the 2018 edition of the league, the eastern franchise finished among the top four where players like Gill and Mavi impressed and KKR have again shown faith in them by retaining them. Karthik’s captaincy was also a big plus for the gold and purple unit as he played crucial cameos and took KKR to the playoffs.

“We’ve retained 13 players, including Nagarkoti. He was injured last year, but looking at his skills and abilities, we are keeping him in our #IPL2019 squad,” said co-owner Venky Mysore.

“The retention was triggered by how our season went in 2018,” said Venky Mysore, CEO and MD of Kolkata Knight Riders. “As we all know, we had a big auction before the last edition, where we assembled a new team. We had retained only Andre Russell and Sunil Narine (on that occasion), so it was practically a new squad, and we were quite excited by the way the season evolved. We have retained 13 players now, including Kamlesh Nagarkoti. He was injured and he unfortunately couldn’t play for us. He is still recovering, but given the skills and ability he has – we picked him with that intention, and we have retained him again.”

The eight players released from their contracts are:

Mitchell Starc
Mitchell Johnson
Tom Curran
 Cameron Delport
Ishank Jaggi
R Vinay Kumar
Apoorv Wankhede
Javon Searles

“It has been picked up out of context, because we (KKR and Starc) have had a great relationship. Even when we picked him last year, not only was he over the moon, but he was also appreciative towards the confidence we had shown in him. He was extremely disappointed he couldn’t come here for last year’s IPL, and to be frank, so were we. It left a big hole in our line up. This time, when we had an exchange of messages, he was appreciative of where we were coming from. It was very cordial, and professional type of an exchange.
“The auctions this year will depend heavily on the availability of the players, especially given that the World Cup is coming up. The Australian board (CA) has apparently said that their players appearing in the IPL and the ones appearing in the World Cup has to return (for national duty) no later than May 1. The English board (ECB) has apparently got a similar clause, so that will be an important consideration.”

“We are glad the youngsters we showed faith in have grabbed the opportunity with both hands. We are in a fairly happy position, and we feel that we have most of our bases covered,” added Venky Mysore.