KKR Lacks Firepower In Batting: Gautam Gambhir
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KKR Lacks Firepower In Batting: Gautam Gambhir

Gautam Gambhir, former Indian opener and two-time IPL winner for KKR pointed out the chink in Kolkata Knight Riders’ squad, saying that the franchise lacks firepower when it comes to Indian batting.

KKR brought back Bangladesh allrounder Shakib al Hasan and also roped in Harbhajan Singh, and Karun Nair, apart from a slew of uncapped players at the auctions on Thursday.

Gautam Gambhir(L) with Shakib Al Hasan(R)
Gautam Gambhir(L) with Shakib Al Hasan(R) – AKHILESH KUMAR

Gautam Gambhir Reckons Indian Batting Is Still A Huge Problem For Kolkata Knight Riders As They Don’t Have Quality

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.

“Indian batting is a huge problem for the Kolkata Knight Riders. Apart from Shubman Gill and to a certain extent Nitish Rana, I don’t see so much quality. Dinesh Karthik bats too low in the batting lineup, he has had a horrible season last time around,” Gautam Gambhir said on Star Sports while reviewing the IPL 2021 Auction.

Karun Nair’s triple ton was also the highest score for an Indian batsman who scored his maiden Test hundred. Photo: PTI
Karun Nair’s triple ton was also the highest score for an Indian batsman who scored his maiden Test hundred. Photo: PTI

Having previously played for Royal Challengers Bangalore, Rajasthan Royals, and Delhi Daredevils in the Indian Premier League, Karun Nair was signed up by the Kings XI Punjab in 2018.

He made his Test cricket debut in 2016 against England. He became the third player in international cricket to convert his maiden century into a triple century, by scoring an unbeaten 303 against England in his third Test. But he played only 6 Tests and has fallen off the radar as he totalled only 16 runs in 4 games in IPL 2020 and 5 runs in 1 game in IPL 2019 and was released by Punjab Kings (formerly Kings XI Punjab).

Gautam Gambhir: KKR Are Dependent Too Much On Eoin Morgan And Andre Russell To Provide Fireworks

Shubman Gill managed 440 runs in 14 games while Eoin Morgan managed 418 runs in as many games. Andre Russell flopped in IPL 2020 despite his credentials and big-hitting ability scoring 117 runs with injuries playing a part. But he was retained as he scored 510 runs in IPL 2019 averaging 56.66 at a strike rate of 204.81 which is in stark contrast to IPL 2020 at UAE.

“That is the reason they will be very much dependent on Eoin Morgan and Andre Russell. Andre Russell needs to fire if they need to be competitive. They need to win the tournament, it’s been 6-7 years since they haven’t won the tournament. You can look very good on paper but they haven’t been that consistent,” Gambhir added.

Dinesh Karthik handed over the KKR captaincy to Eoin Morgan Midway In IPL 2020 (Instagram)
Dinesh Karthik handed over the KKR captaincy to Eoin Morgan Midway In IPL 2020 (Instagram)

“Had they probably had a little better Indian batting lineup, probably someone like a Kedar Jadhav, yes they went for someone like an experienced Karun Nair. But Kedar Jadhav could have given them that little bit of firepower in the middle order. They have got Rahul Tripathi and Karun Nair but Karun Nair is probably more suited to bat at the top of the order. So from that point of view, I feel a little bit of chink in the armour,” Gautam Gambhir further said.

“Who are they going to open with? Are they going to open with Sunil Narine again with Shubman Gill? Do they have that much firepower at the top of the order because Eoin Morgan at 4, Dinesh Karthik at 5 and Andre Russell is still the middle order,” Gautam Gambhir signed off.

Dinesh Karthik, who relinquished captaincy midway in IPL 2020 has vast experience playing 196 IPL games averaging 26. He led KKR to playoffs in 2018 and his side finished fifth in the points table in 2019.  He had an average IPL 2020 scoring 169 runs averaging only 14.08 in 14 games.