Kolkata Knight Riders are going into the auction with a huge purse and a lot of spots to fill. They have released most of their key players ahead of the auction and will be looking to buy similar replacements or try to get them back in the auction at a lower price.
Brendon McCullum is appointed as the Head Coach of KKR. It is his first stint as a coach in the Indian Premier League and he will have to prove his worth with results this time. A lot of talks going around as KKR is looking to change their captain this season. Ideally, they will look for an opening batsman, a foreign all-rounder and an Indian spinner in the auction.
Players Released: Robin Uthappa, Chris Lynn, Anrich Nortje, Piyush Chawla, Joe Denly, Yarra Prithviraj, Nikhik Naik, KC Cariappa, Matthew Kelly, Shrikant Mundhe and Carlos Brathwaite.
Players Retained: Dinesh Karthik, Andre Russell, Sunil Narine, Kuldeep Yadav, Shubman Gill, Lockie Ferguson, Nitish Rana, Sandeep Warrier, Harry Gurney, Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Shivam Mavi, Siddhesh Lad.
Purse Remaining: Rs 35.65 crore
Slot Remaining: 11 (four overseas)
Tom Banton took the world by storm in this year’s Natwest T20 Blast. He is the most sought after opener by franchises across the world.
The 21-year-old who’s emulated as the next Kevin Pietersen by the fans has a very similar shot-making style of KP. Currently playing in Big Bash League, the English opener could go for big money in the auction. Though his base price is Rs One crore, it is a certainty that his price will grow multiple folds in the auction. KKR is one of the few teams who can afford to go after him and he can be a perfect foil for Shubman Gill at the top.
Aaron Finch is another opener who can be bought by KKR if they are not able to get hold Banton in the auction. The 33-year-old aggressive opener from Australia can tonk the ball and can captain the team as well. He has scored 8440 runs in T20s with a career strike rate of 143.92. KKR would like to go hard at the top in the powerplay in the absence of Chris Lynn and there can’t be a better opener to buy in the auction at a base price of Rs One Crore. Chris Jordan is another overseas fast bowler whom KKR can go for in the auction. The fact that he is good form especially in the T20I series against New Zealand. He can tonk the ball long with the bat, which can be handy lower down the order. At a base price of Rs 75 lakhs, Jordan can be a budget buy who can be handy in the death for KKR with Shivam Mavi and Kamalesh Nagarkoti handling the new ball in the powerplay. Ben Cutting is another overseas all-rounder whom KKR can go after in the auction. The Australian can be used as a pinch-hitter and can bowl a couple of overs as well. He could an ideal backup option for Andre Russell, whose fitness can be on the line more often than not. Despite a couple of indifferent seasons, he can be a dangerous contender on a given day. At a base price of Rs 75 lakhs, he is someone McCullum will look to get in the auction.
R Sai Kishore has done really well in the recently concluded Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy. He was the leading wicket-taker of the tournament with 21 wickets in 12 matches at an economy of 4.63. The left-arm spinner from Tamil Nadu could be a viable option for KKR in the absence of their longtime servant Piyush Chawla. Coming into the auction at a base price of Rs 20 lakhs, he can be more than useful for KKR this season.
KKR can also go for Chris Lynn, Shimron Hetmeyer, Tom Curran in the auction if they aren’t able to get hold of the above-mentioned players.