Kolkata Knight Rider’s journey through the IPL, thus far, has been reminiscent of their owner Shah Rukh Khan’s acting career, to a degree: one hell of a roller coaster ride, to say the least! Like SRK’s journey in Bollywood, KKR’s graph started on a very depressing note: they had to endure a lot of struggles and hardships. However, the graph started changing directions after the introduction of Gautam Gambhir, who provided a much needed change in perspective, and it reached it’s peak when they finally grabbed the much coveted title in the summer of 2012. Let’s see what we can or cannot expect from the most glamorous team( You know that 2 of the 3 owners are from Bollywood,right?) of the IPL, this season.
Batsmen: Gautam Gambhir, Christopher Austin Lynn, Debabrata Das, Robin Uthappa, Manish Pandey, Suryakumar Yadav
Bowlers: Morne Morkel, Pat Cummins, Sunil Narine, Umesh Yadav, Piyush Chawla, Vinay Kumar, Sayan Mondol, VP Singh
All Rounders: Jacques Kallis, Andre Russell, Ryan Ten Doeschate, Shakib Al Hasan, Yusuf Pathan
Wicket-Keeper: Manvinder Singh Bisla
The Game Changers
KKR, like most of the teams in IPL, have a number of game changers in their team, who on their day can single handedly take away the match from the opposition. I, however, pick 3 such names, who I believe, may give KKR that extra edge.
1. Gautam Gambhir: True, things are not looking very bright for the left hand opening batsman now. He has been away from all the action for almost a year, having been shown the exit doors from the Indian national team. Gambhir has had to struggle a lot, even in the domestic circuits, grinding the dust. However, his form has picked up in the last quarter, augmenting to KKR’s potent top order. He is the kind of player, who, if high on confidence, will make the opposition pay. He wears his hearts on his sleeves and that aggression seems to rub off on the other members of the squad!
2. Sunil Narine: Sunil Narine, undoubtedly, is one bowler whom every team would like to have in their armory. The reasons for this is pretty profound too. Just like Lasith Malinga has made it a habit to produce unplayable yorkers at the fag end of the innings, making life hellish for even the best of the best, Narine dries up the flow of runs and picks up wickets at regular intervals. Whenever Gambhir is faced with an impending danger, he turns to Narine: the latter is his go-to man!
3. Morne Morkel: This tall, lanky fast bowler from South Africa, has a habit of furnishing a few nasty and unplayable deliveries at will. True, he is unpredictable: He might end up going for 50 runs in the stipulated quota, but the very next day he might run through half of the opposition’s batting order, without battling an eyelid!
Yusuf Pathan: I know, most of you, will be rolling your eyes seeing this name and I understand your reasons. Hell, I agree with you to a great extent! But, I still feel Pathan has match winning abilities and if he can even play to 50% of his potential, he will turn out to be the dark horse for KKR.
The New Kid on the block
Suryakumar Yadav: This 24 year old, has previously been a part of the Mumbai Indians camp, warming the benches on most cases. Suryakumar plays for Mumbai in the domestic challenges and has an impressive batting average of 42! A talented allrounder, Suryakumar Yadav made an impressive 73 on his Ranji debut in 2010 against Delhi. He was signed by the Mumbai Indians in 2011, having played just one first-class game. He has made quite a name for himself because of his attacking stroke play, and if given a chance, might just turn out to be a worthy acquisition for KKR.
What to Expect
KKR has a well balanced and talented team. The only thing, which I find as a chink in their armor, is their batting firepower. I don’t see many players who can take the game away from the opposition in a matter of couple overs, like Chris Gayle. They, mostly, have players who are tried and tested in the longer formats and not known to be the most outrageous improvisers! However, on the bowling front, I believe, they have one of the best attacks in the business: both in the fast bowling and spin department. All in all, if KKR plays to it’s potential and the right players click at the right times, they have no reasons of not having a top 4 finish!