Gautam Gambhir, the former India batsman, and former KKR skipper talked about the team combinations for the franchise he captained, the Kolkata Knight Riders should consider heading into the auction.
The IPL 2021 is a couple of months away as it will probably start on April 10 but preparations have already begun as all eight teams look to build their best squad ahead of the 14th edition of the tournament when the much-awaited Players’ auction takes place Thursday 18th February in Chennai.
Gautam Gambhir: KKR Don’t Need To Fill Lot Of Gaps As They Didn’t Release Too Many Players
KKR was led by Gautam Gambhir to two IPL titles in 2012 and 2014. He reckons the team needs to have a back-up for star all-rounder Andre Russell, given his tendency of suffering injuries and breaking down in the middle of the tournament. Andre Russell has been a prolific player for KKR, scoring 1459 runs for the franchise since joining it in 2014, has been let down by multiple injuries.
Last year, he hurt himself while attempting in vain to stop a ball near the boundary and was ruled out of the next few games due to a knee injury as KKR struggled to make an upward move in the points table. Gautam Gambhir reckons they need to find a backup, who can probably be a like-for-like replacement for the big-hitting all-rounder if KKR wants to avoid a similar scenario this time around.
“One good thing is that they did not release too many players after not that successful season. KKR, they don’t need to fill a lot of gaps but they actually need a backup for Andre Russell because he has got serious injury issues.
“I doubt he will be able to play 14 games. Yes, you do get fit for IPL, that’s his priority at the moment but again, you need a back up for someone like him, especially given question mark over Sunil Narine’s action which was there the last time around as well,” Gautam Gambhir said on Star Sports.
Unlike teams like Chennai Super Kings and Royal Challengers Bangalore, who released quite a few players ahead of the auction, KKR has let go of only five in Tom Banton, Chris Green, Nikhil Naik, Siddharth M, and Siddhesh Lad.
Likes of Shakib Al Hasan, Cameron Green, Moises Henriques, or Glenn Maxwell all of whom are promising all-rounders could be bought in IPL 2021 auction. Interestingly, Shakib Al Hasan played for KKR before from 2011 to 2017 and Moises Henriques played for KKR in 2009 but his last IPL appearance came in 2017.
Gautam Gambhir: There Are Probably Not Many Gaps To Fill But They Should Invest In Indian Batting
The franchise head into the auction with a purse of ₹10.85 crores and the former KKR skipper believes the franchise needs to invest in good, domestic players since KKR do not have the best group of Indian players.
“Couple of players here and there. Apart from Shubman Gill, I don’t see much class in that batting. Dinesh Karthik – yes, he can hurt you very badly in T20 formats but he bats really low down the order. And when you talk about him being a finisher, you can be a finisher batting at No. 3 as well which probably Karthik has done in his IPL career,” Gautam Gambhir added.
“Even in the last season you see, it was their Indian batting that didn’t click. There were times when Shubman Gill looked really good. Nitish Rana contributed a bit. Karthik had a bad run in the last season but then how many players are available? So, let’s see. There are probably not many gaps to fill but they need some options.”
Andre Russell has the reputation of being one of the finest all-rounders considering T20 cricket but IPL 2020 season saw him emerge as a big flop as he could amass only 117 runs averaging a pathetic 13 with a bat in 10 games.
Dinesh Karthik scored 169 runs, Nitish Rana scored 352 runs while Shubman Gill who scored 440 runs, and Eoin Morgan who scored 418 runs were among the leading run-scorers in IPL 2020. Rahul Tripathi looked inconsistent amassing 230 runs only.