After missing on to the playoffs qualification by a narrow margin last year, Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) will launch their Indian Premier League (IPL 2021) campaign against SunRisers Hyderabad (SRH) in Chennai. Led by Eoin Morgan, KKR have kept their core group of players intact and also made some key signings, strengthening their area of concern. Morgan, Pat Cummins, Andre Russell and Sunil Narine, if fit and available, are the front-runners to occupy the four overseas slots in the playing XI. The real tussle in the side is among the selection of Indian players as the side boasts some quality young players like Shubman Gill and Prasidh Krishna, both of whom impressed when they turned up for India earlier this year. While Shubman Gill played a key role in India’s Test series win Down Under, Krishna is oozing with confidence after impressing one and all during his debut series against England.
Here are the three KKR players to watch out for
Shubman Gill was KKR’s best batsman in the last edition by a country mile, scoring 440 runs in 14 matches. The onus of providing KKR with solid starts will once again be on him. Gill was one of the standout performers for India in the Test series against Australia, scoring runs against a top-quality bowling attack. While he was the most productive batsman for KKR in the IPL last year, his strike rate often came under the scanner and the fans would hope he bats with the same attacking flair he showed against Australia at the Gabba and instill fear among opposition bowlers.
Mystery spinner Varun Chakravarthy’s had a breakout season with KKR last year as he picked up 17 wickets from 13 outings, including a five-wicket haul. After from picking wickets, he was able to create pressure on the opposition batsmen in the middle overs, with his economical spells. Based on his IPL heroics, Varun Chakravarthy twice earned the national call-up to the T20I side, but he was left out on both occasions at the last moment. A late injury kept him from boarding the flight to Australia, while the second setback came when he failed to clear the fitness test. Determined to shrug off these setbacks, Chakravarthy will definitely be the one KKR player to watch out for and Chennai’s spin-friendly track will certainly come to his aid.
After the highs of past few years, Russell fared way below expectations, with both bat and ball, during an injury-laden season in the UAE. The big-hitting West Indian could only muster 117 runs and took only 6 wickets. However, every opposition is well aware of the destruction a fit and firing Russell can cause on a given day and KKR would be hoping that he repeats the magic of 2019 where he scored 510 runs at a mind-blowing strike rate of 204.81 and also picked up 11 wickets.
Topics mentioned in this article