Just days ahead of the upcoming season of the Indian Premier League, Kolkata Knight Riders have suffered twin injury blows. Their young pacers Kamlesh Nagarkoti and Shivam Mavi have been ruled out of the twelfth edition due to injuries. Nagarkoti, who had missed the last season too with an injury, is yet to recover from a back injury and will have to wait for at least another year to make his IPL debut.
Kolkata Knight Riders have already bought Kerala fast bowler Sandeep Warrier to replace Nagarkoti. Sandeep had finished the last season of Ranji Trophy as Kerala’s highest wicket-taker, picking up 44 wickets and helping the team make it to their first-ever semifinal in the competition.
Sandeep also impressed in the ongoing edition of the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy where he picked up 8 wickets in the first six games including a hat-trick against Andhra. The upcoming season with Knight Riders will not be his first stint in the IPL.
He was previously a part of the Royal Challengers Bangalore camp for three seasons from 2013. However, he did not get to play a single game. From 2016 till the last auction, there were no buyers for him in the auction before his impressive displays made Knight Riders sign him up at the last moment.
The Knight Riders had shelled out a staggering amount of INR 3.2 crore to sign Nagarkoti last year after his impressive outing during India’s title-wining U-19 World Cup last year. He is currently recovering at the BCCI’s National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bengaluru and will need another two to three months to fully recover.
Just like Nagarkoti, his former India U-19 teammate Mavi will also miss the upcoming season. The Uttar Pradesh pacer has been ruled out of the season with a stress fracture in his back. Mavi is likely to be out of action for at least six months. The right-arm pacer had made his IPL debut last and had gone on to play 9 matches, picking a total of 5 wickets.
Kolkata Knight Riders, meanwhile, have a good pace attack that boasts the likes of Harry Gurney, Lockie Ferguson, Prasidh Krishna and Andre Russell. Warrier, who can constantly clock over 140 kmph, is definitely going to add more sharpness to the attack.
The Knight Riders had done exceedingly well last season despite their talismanic skipper Gautam Gambhir switching to Delhi Capitals. Under new skipper Karthik and with a team full of youngsters, they had gone on to beat all the odds and make it to the playoffs. Their journey had ended in the second Qualifier after a loss to Sunrisers Hyderabad.