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Kolkata Knight Riders IPL 2014 preview

KKR old guard get solid back-ups

The Preview by Devashish Fuloria

April 12, 2014

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Agarkar: Performance of Indian batsmen key for KKR

Probable first XI


1 Gautam Gambhir (capt), 2 Robin Uthappa (wk), 3 Jacques Kallis, 4 Manish Pandey, 5 Yusuf Pathan, 6 Chris Lynn/Shakib Al Hasan, 7 Piyush Chawla, 8 Vinay Kumar, 9 Sunil Narine, 10 Morne Morkel/ Pat Cummins, 11 Umesh Yadav
Full squad

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2013 finish


Seventh

Big picture


A year after winning the trophy - in 2012, Kolkata Knight Riders had an abysmal dip in fortune with the same line-up. No wonder then that when it came to retaining players, they only held onto Gautam Gambhir, their captain, and Sunil Narine, their most valuable player. The auction was a chance to redesign the team, cure the known deficiencies, but like other teams who have tasted success in the past, Knight Riders too made sure they were not wiping the slate clean.

They threw in their right-to-match cards to pull in Yusuf Pathan and Jacques Kallis, two players on which they have heavily invested in the past, but more importantly covered a couple of important weaknesses; a middle order that lacked girth to take the weight of the top order and a mediocre pace-attack lacking survival skills on patta pitches. Only time will tell if the money was spent wisely but on paper, Robin Uthappa and Manish Pandey do add much needed spunk to the batting order that relies heavily on the trio of Gambhir, Kallis and Yusuf.

More remarkable however is the change in complexion of the team's pace resources. While other teams made headlines during the auction for either the money they spent or the steal they made in a deal, Knight Riders efficiently beefed up their arsenal with Morne Morkel, Umesh Yadav, Pat Cummins and Vinay Kumar.

Knight Riders strength though remains in the variety of their spinners. Narine will have the support of a wily legspinner in Piyush Chawla, a smart left-armer in Shakib Al Hasan and a rare breed - a chinaman bowler in Kuldeep Yadav. Cricketing bases covered, they have also hired explorer Mike Horn to add steel to their approach. The only apparent weakness in this line-up seems to be the inconsistency within.

Big players


Ignore his strike rate of 105.53, the value Jacques Kallis brings to Knight Riders is immense. He has been their second-highest run-scorer and also their second-highest wicket-taker. Along with Gambhir, Kallis is the load-bearing member. After scoring more than 400 runs in two consecutive seasons, Kallis' form took a dip and it reflected in the team's results. This time, though, he will be in fresh after having hardly taken to the field since his retirement and will be needed more for his batting than the bowling.

He was the star of the 2008 season, but Yusuf Pathan's stocks have never really hit those pre-credit crunch era highs again. Gambhir, in the past three seasons, has been vocal in his support despite Yusuf managing a solitary half-century in 43 innings for Knight Riders. In contrast, he had four half-centuries in the opening season itself. But, Knight Riders continue to show faith and if the Yusuf's form in the domestic matches leading up to the IPL is any indicator, that trust might not be misplaced.

Bargain buy


At 1 crore or $166,000, Knight Riders managed to lay their hands on Pat Cummins, the young Australian fast bowler. Raw pace is a rare commodity in the IPL and usually attracts the buyers, but Cummins' patchy fitness record may have worked in favour of Knight Riders. If he can hold his body together, he will ruffle some batsmen.

Availability


No availability issues at the moment

Odds


10/1 - least favoured among the eight teams.

Odds provided by Bet365

Devashish Fuloria is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by iMpArTh92 on (April 16, 2014, 14:52 GMT)

with this kind of lineup kkr must finish with 7 or 8 position in table

Posted by dasarpan23 on (April 16, 2014, 12:29 GMT)

go for 3 spinners narine yadav chawla 3 allrounders kallis/tendo shakib yusuf 4 batsman gambhir robin pandey/lynn suryakumar 1 fast bowler morkel/vinaykumar

Posted by   on (April 16, 2014, 11:22 GMT)

if shakib is not useful why did kkr take him ?he feel scared ,1 bad performance can get him out. if he gets chance he will prove . it would be better if he could have played for hyderabad or other low ranked team cause he could get more chance to play.

Posted by   on (April 16, 2014, 10:44 GMT)

My choice are: 1. Gambhir, 2. Pandey, 3. Das, 4.Kallis, 5. Pathan, 6. Shakib, 7. Yadav, 8.Chawla, 9. Morkel, 10.Narine, 11. Yadav

Posted by Sanjh123 on (April 16, 2014, 8:51 GMT)

I wanna see Kuldeep Yadav along with Sunil Narine (enough of Piyush Chawla). Sanju Samson & Deepak hooda should be playing for Rajasthan I guess.

Posted by   on (April 16, 2014, 8:47 GMT)

#ramz30380.shakib is much better all-rounder than jadeja,faulkner,maxwell,ashwin & other players.he will prove it again in the ipl.just give him the chance.

Posted by   on (April 16, 2014, 7:14 GMT)

if it is spin then: Gambhir, Pandey, uthappa,yusuf, bisla, chawla, umesh. 4 foreigners: narine,russell,morkel and shakib.

for batting track: gambhir, pandey, uthappa, yusuf, bisla, Umesh, vinay. 4 foreigners: russell, narine, kallis, lynn.

for fast bowling: gambhir, yusuf, uthappa, pandey, umesh, bisla, vinay. 4 foreigners: narine, morkel, lynn,kallis.

Posted by   on (April 16, 2014, 5:04 GMT)

My 4 overseas player for today--- kallis,,narine,,Shakib, ,,lyn,,,along with---- gambhir..Robin ..yousuf..manish..chawola..vinay..umesh.........3 pacer...4 spinners...

Posted by   on (April 16, 2014, 2:40 GMT)

I think they have a very good batter in the aussie Chris Lyn. He was one of the most destructive batsman in Big Bash League in Australia; one of the best finisher. If Yusuf Pathan fires, he and Lyn can be the killer punch they need on Indian/Gulf wickets.

Posted by niazbhi on (April 16, 2014, 0:42 GMT)

KKR is no where close to teams like Mumbai or Chennai. Those teams have several high SR batsmen with decent average on the top (Raina, Anderson, Dhoni, Kohli, Taylor, Peterson, Rohit, Maxwell, Hodge type). Bisla, Uthappa, Ghamvir have to play at their best. Kallis is good I would take Bravo over (current) Kallis on 20/20s. Sakib is actually worse than other batsmen but he is ok for number 7. Chawla, Sakib are good and Narine is great. They just do not have quicks that can stop runs in the flat wickets. England's Jordan or WI's Cooper, Hendricks/Abbott should be better than Morkel and Vinay. Kallis used to be good at death. Not as good any more. No other team is spending two spots for foreign spinners. (Sakib would not get a spot based on only batting).

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