Eoin Morgan, Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) skipper on Saturday backed under-fire all-rounder Sunil Narine to deliver in the ongoing IPL 2021 and said the Trinidadian is no different from their latest acquisition, Bangladesh’s all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan.
His exploits with the bat and ball had given KKR multiple options in the recent past but the West Indian was far from his best in 2020 as he picked only 5 scalps in 10 games and was even called for his suspect bowling action. Heading into his ninth season, Sunil Narine faces some heat for inclusion in playing XI as KKR seemed to have got his back-up in the form of Bangladesh’s star all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan.
Eoin Morgan Backs Sunil Narine And Shakib Al Hasan Gives KKR A Different Dimension
But the KKR skipper Eoin Morgan thinks differently and said: “Shakib Al Hasan and Sunil Narine are no different.”
“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,” Eoin Morgan said, strongly backing Narine on the eve of their IPL opener against Sunrisers Hyderabad.
In this year’s mini-auction held at Chennai in February, KKR made some interesting acquisitions, bringing back Shakib Al Hasan who was an important part of their two title-winning sides in 2012 and 2014 while picking seasoned campaigners in Ben Cutting and Harbhajan Singh.
“Given that we have a bit more travel this year and we go from venue to venue, it’s important to have strength and depth in the squad. Shakib Al Hasan gives us a different dynamic in the team. Given that we play at different venues where the conditions change quite a lot, you have a spin-bowling all-rounder who had success in international cricket and IPL at different stages. If called upon, he can definitely deliver,” Morgan said.
The other five buys of the auction included Sheldon Jackson, Vaibhav Arora, Karun Nair, Venkatesh Iyer and Pawan Negi, and Eoin Morgan believed they were smart in plugging the “holes”.
“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,” Morgan said.
The England 2019 World Cup-winning skipper Eoin Morgan sustained a split webbing between his thumb and index finger in the first ODI which required four stitches as he missed the final 2 ODIs against India but has recovered.
KKR bought Sheldon Jackson, Vaibhav Arora, Shakib Al Hasan, Karun Nair, Harbhajan Singh, Ben Cutting, Venkatesh Iyer, and Pawan Negi in IPL 2021 auctions held at Chennai. Dinesh Karthik relinquished captaincy midway in IPL 2020 and handed it over to Eoin Morgan.
Eoin Morgan: Dinesh Karthik Offers A Lot With The Bat And Behind The Stumps
Eoin Morgan took over the captaincy reins from Dinesh Karthik midway into last season and he said the veteran Indian wicketkeeper-batsman is a big support to him.
“DK offers a lot with the bat and behind the stumps. 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.“He offers a huge amount of support to me on the pitch and off the field as well. Very grateful that he is in good form and in our team,” he added.
Eoin Morgan further said that he’s looking forward to seeing their top-order batsman Shubman Gill scoring much-needed runs, after his spectacular debut Test series Down Under.
“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,” Eoin Morgan concluded.
The 21-year-old was one of the chief architects of India’s epic Test series wins Down Under, in what was his debut outing. He managed 259 runs averaging 51.8 in 3 Tests after debuting in the Melbourne Test. Shubman Gill was KKR’s leading run-scorer in IPL 2020 amassing 440 runs in 14 games.
Kolkata Knight Riders Probable XI: Shubman Gill, Nitish Rana, Rahul Tripathi, Eoin Morgan(c), Dinesh Karthik(wk), Andre Russell, Sunil Narine/ Shakib Al Hasan, Shivam Mavi/Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Pat Cummins/ Lockie Ferguson, Varun Chakravarthy/ Harbhajan Singh, Prasidh Krishna.