IPL 2024 Auction KKR prediction, top picks: Gautam Gambhir, Kolkata Knight Riders in for a long haul

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Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) have a massive task on their hands in the upcoming Indian Premier League (IPL) 2023 that is scheduled to take place on December 19 in Dubai.

IPL 2024 Auction: Full coverage

Ever since finishing as the runners-up in the 2021 edition under Eoin Morgan’s leadership, KKR have found the going tough. Last year, they did not have Shreyas Iyer as their skipper after he sustained a back injury earlier this year.

Nitish Rana could not quite step in as the captain. Rinku Singh played plenty of match-winning knocks, but they weren’t enough for KKR to qualify for the playoffs.

The Knights recently roped in Gautam Gambhir as their mentor. It was Gambhir who captained them to glory in the 2012 and 2014 editions of the tournament. Whether or not he can make an impact in the auction remains to be seen.

CURRENT SQUAD

Andre Russell, Anukul Roy, Harshit Rana, Jason Roy, Nitish Rana, Rahmanullah Gurbaz , Rinku Singh, Shreyas Iyer, Sunil Narine, Suyash Sharma, Vaibhav Arora, Varun Chakaravarthy, Venkatesh Iyer

REMAINING SLOTS AND PURSE

Slots remaining: 12 (4 overseas)

Purse: Rs 32.70 crore

TOP TARGETS

Kolkata Knight Riders, ahead of the auction, have released 12 players. Having not qualified for the playoffs in the last two seasons, they will be looking for an overhaul of sorts in the auction. Sunil Narine and Andre Russell have been their stalwarts and were almost certain to be retained.

Jason Roy, Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Shreyas Iyer are amongst their more experienced players. But the Knights have plenty of slots to fill and their fate in the tournament could well be decided in the auction itself.

Azmatullah Omarzai

Azmatullah Omarzai went into the World Cup 2023 not being a big name in Afghanistan cricket. But he pulled off a massive surprise after being their standout cricketer in the tournament. He scored 353 runs from eight matches at an average of 70.60 and a strike-rate of 97.78 with three half-centuries and a top score of 97.

Moreover, he picked up seven wickets at an economy rate of 7.10. Omarzai, however, is yet to do anything major in the T20 format. In 62 matches, he has scored only 588 runs at an average of 22.61 and a strike-rate of 129.51 with one fifty to his name.

With 59 wickets at an economy rate of 7.76, Omarzai has done well in the bowling department in T20s. Omarzai will be a handy pick in the auction because of the way he adapted to the Indian conditions in the World Cup.

Mitchell Starc

Mitchell Starc has often pulled out of the IPL due to his commitments for the Australian national team. But this time around, the southpaw will be a part of the auction. It goes without saying that the pacer will be in high demands and teams would be willing to shell out big bucks for him.

Starc didn’t have the best of campaigns in the World Cup by his standards after he picked up 16 wickets from 10 matches at an economy rate of 6.06. He made the record of the fastest bowler to pick up 50 wickets in World Cups before Mohammed Shami broke it.

From Shoaib Akhtar, Shane Bond, Trent Boult to Pat Cummins, the Knight Riders have always preferred a genuine pace bowler in their ranks. Hence, there is a chance that the Men in Gold and Purple will go all out for the speedster.

Harshal Patel

Harshal Patel has been playing in the IPL for a very long time, but it was only in 2021 that he made an impact. In that season, the pacer equalled Dwayne Bravo’s record of most wickets in a single edition of the IPL. The seamer finished with 32 wickets to his name and also accounted for a hat-trick against the Mumbai Indians where he dismissed Hardik Pandya, Kieron Pollard and Rahul Chahar.

Harshal picked up 19 wickets in 2022 at an economy rate of 7.66, carrying on from where he left off in 2021. But in 2022, he had a rough season. Although he picked up 14 wickets from 13 matches, he bowled an expensive economy of 9.66 after which Royal Challengers Bangalore released him.

The Knight Riders have Harshit Rana and Vaibhav Rana as their pacers, but they lack experience. Not lacking experience in their pace attack, the Knights may go for Harshal albeit the pacer is past his prime.

Potential Targets: Azmatullah Omarzai, Mitchell Starc, Phil Salt, Akeal Hosein, Harshal Patel, Taskin Ahmed, Daryl Mitchell, Raj Angad Bawa

Published By:

sabyasachi chowdhury

Published On:

Dec 11, 2023



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