Six years ago, Lalit Modi and his associates started what was thought to be a revolutionary idea and it changed the face of cricket around the world. Over the years, the IPL has had it’s fair share of ups and downs. Similarly, the team from Kolkata, the Kolkata Knight Riders have surely had their share of the highs and sour lows. KKR have had a roller coaster ride to say the least.
This year though, they have been a shade of what they can produce. Poor batting performances combined with nonchalant bowling by a few have ensured that the team from Kolkata are not having a smooth sail this time around. The most disappointing of the lot must surely be Yusuf Pathan.
His exploits with the Royals initially brought him on to the national scene and he was soon bought by Kolkata for a fee in excess of 2 million. Well, figuratively that’s a lot. However, his performances on the field though have not been able to justify that huge price tag.
To sum up, this year’s auction hasn’t given KKR what they need and they are certainly facing the results of that. So how can KKR get their form back? Let us now have a look at a few ways at which KKR might go a long way in the tournament.
The Indian players
It’s often said that homegrown talents are next to none in the IPL. Suryakumar Yadav and Manish Pandey have clearly shown us what they are capable of. Their exploits with the bat have certainly come in handy for the team. Along with Robin Uthappa, who of late has been a revelation for the team, these young guns have certainly helped the team’s cause with promising batting displays. Yadav especially has been the find of the season for the KKR, his improvisation at the death has been a cause of concern for the opposition bowlers. Pandey has used the long handle to great effect while Uthappa has now made the opening spot his own, forming a formidable left hand-right hand combination with captain, Gautham Gambhir.
After much success in the first half of their tournament, these three would surely play a major role in KKR’s fortunes.
Conclusion: Yadav must bat earlier. Uthappa and Pandey have been revelations at the top and must be there.
Sunil Narine is an automatic pick into any KKR eleven. Shakib Al Hasan is another seasoned campaigner that the KKR have in their armoury. Though he is extremely consistent and is quite a handful for opposition batsmen, I believe KKR would do well to drop him and play a seam bowler in his stead. Except in square turners which keep slow and low, Shakib is not someone you would want in your eleven. When KKR possess players like Pat Cummins who is an exceptional death bowler and Morne Morkel who can bounce the Indian batsmen who are not used to fast bowling with that quality, why play Shakib who is not a big turner of the ball against the Indian batsmen who are used to playing spin all their life.
Kuldeep Yadav is one player who can possibly replace Shakib in the lineup. His accurate bowling has made even the great Ian Chapell take notice. He is surely one to look out for and the think-tank must seriously consider playing him a little more often. KKR’s homeground is the Eden Gardens which plays slow and keeps low which is why KKR’s decision to sell Rajat Bhatia is quite baffling indeed. Speaking of slow bowlers, Piyush Chawla could be a handy pick too. Although he may go for a few runs, he is always a wicket taking option.
Conclusion: Narine is a must. Playing Shakib is sometimes not needed. Kuldeep Yadav or Pat Cummins would be a better option. Remember, Cummins has a great in-swinging yorker which is lethal at the end.
The 4 Foreigners
Narine is a certainty. I would always prefer Morkel or Cummins being the second foreign bowler in the side ahead of Shakib, both for their quality seam bowling but completely different utilities. KKR’s top 5 should consist of Gambhir, Uthappa, Yadav and Pandey, for reasons cited earlier. Jacques Kallis is an automatic choice as the third foreign player because of the experience and quality that he brings to the side, both with the ball and the bat. Ryan Ten Doeschate is probably the best pick as the fourth foreigner in this KKR side. A Handy bowler who can pinch in a few overs and a destructive batsman who can tear apart any attack, Ten Doeschate would be my final pick.
Conclusion: Narine, Cummins/Morkel, Ten Doeschate and Kallis are my four foreigners.
Debarata Das or Yusuf Pathan?
Would you want a Debarata Das who has been consistent for you or a Yusuf Pathan who can explode at any moment? The latter had been bought for a considerably big amount but has not yet been able to deliver the goods. The former though has been street-smart in the end and has scored vital runs for the team. Considering all that, I would at this point of time go for Debarata Das who proves to be a better option. He can finish the innings or he can even play the role of the sheet anchor. And that’s why Debarata Das would be my pick.
Gautham Gambhir (C), Robin Uthappa (WK), Manish Pandey, Jacques Kallis, Suryakumar Yadav, Ryan Ten Doeschate, Debarata Das, Vinay Kumar, Piyush Chawala, Sunil Narine, Pat Cummins