The Kolkata Knight Riders captain Eoin Morgan believes the addition of Bangladesh allrounder Shakib Al Hasan has given them a "different dynamic" in the squad, especially considering all the teams will be playing on neutral venues this IPL.
"Shakib Al Hasan gives us a different dynamic in the team," Morgan told kkr.in. "Given that we play at different venues where the conditions change quite a lot, you have a spin-bowling allrounder who had success in international cricket and IPL at different stages. If called upon, he can definitely deliver."
The Knight Riders start their campaign on Sunday against the Sunrisers Hyderabad and will play across Chennai, Mumbai, Ahmedabad and Bengaluru this time. Morgan also said the other fresh additions will add further depth to their squad. Other than Shakib, the Knight Riders bought experienced spinner Harbhajan Singh, middle-order batsman Karun Nair, and allrounders Pawan Negi and Ben Cutting in the recent auction.
"I think considering the possible holes we had in our squad last year, we had a very good auction this year, made some good recruitment decisions and managed to get people on board with a small budget, giving us a lot more depth around the squad," he said.
Shakib could be a like-for-like replacement in the XI for Sunil Narine, who had an underwhelming season with both bat and ball last year, scoring only 121 runs from nine innings while taking five wickets in 10 games. Narine was also reported for a suspect bowling action last IPL, which had placed him on a warning list that could have had him suspended from bowling if he was reported again. But Morgan showed faith in Narine by saying the allrounder could be trusted to perform in crucial situations.
"In big moments of the game, particularly last year, you would throw Sunil the ball or you would get him in with the bat because he has been in that situation over and over again; he believes in himself and in the team to go and get through and win that situation," Morgan said.
Having taken up captaincy midway last season, Morgan said his predecessor Dinesh Karthik still offered a lot to the Knight Riders' set-up and that he continued to provide Morgan with the required support. Karthik cracked 183 runs in six innings in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, India's domestic T20 tournament, at a strike rate of 157.75, to lead Tamil Nadu to their second domestic T20 title.
"He has been in fine form, and he is always one of those players who if you watch him train and particularly bat, he times the ball beautifully and hits the ball further than most of the guys," Morgan said. "He offers a huge amount of support to me on the pitch and off the field as well. [I am] very grateful that he is in good form and in our team."
Apart from the cushion of the experienced names, Morgan said younger players like Prasidh Krishna and Shubman Gill brought a lot of "confidence" with them, especially by achieving considerable success while representing India in recent months.
"If you look at Prasidh and Gill so far, they want to build on that confidence," he said. "Particularly Gill, coming on the back of winning an away Test-match series in Australia is a huge achievement early in your career. And to have him in your squad on the back of that win is fantastic."