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IPL 2021: Kolkata Knight Riders should look for match winners during auction

Kolkata Knight Riders do not need numerous players during the auction, but they need a couple of match-winners to lift the quality of the squad.

Despite turbulent IPL 2020, Kolkata Knight Riders were in no mood to make major changes to the squad for the next season. There were reports suggesting that Dinesh Karthik will be released after being removed from captaincy midway through last season due to poor individual and team performances. However, KKR has retained him and a big chunk of last year’s squad.

Going into the auction, KKR does not have a big purse to spend big on players. However, they have enough in the bank to sign two match-winners that can boost the squad and give them a big chance to compete for the title.

Released: Tom Banton, Chris Green, Nikhil Naik, Siddharth M, Siddhesh Lad, Harry Gurney, Ali Khan

Retained:  Eoin Morgan, Dinesh Karthik,  Nitish Rana, Shubman Gill, Rinku Singh, Rahul Tripathi, Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Kuldeep Yadav, Lockie Ferguson, Pat Cummins, Prasidh Krishna, Sandeep Warrier, Shivam Mavi, Varun Chakravarthy, Andre Russell, Sunil Narine, Tim Seifert

Remaining Purse – Rs 10.75 crores

Improving batting unit should be on the agenda for KKR

The batting unit of KKR let them down on many occasions last season. Shubman Gill was the bright spark at the top of the order, but no one else consistently provided the support around him to help the team post and chase big totals. KKR should be looking to improve the batting depth of the squad.

In terms of Indian batsmen, KKR could do with a big hitter in the middle order. Shivam Dube is yet to enjoy success in IPL, but he would be a clever pick for KKR to provide more power hitting in the middle order. Dube might not be a consistent player but his power-hitting can provide the x-factor to the lineup along with Andre Russell. In terms of a good backup batting option, KKR can also look at Karun Nair to add more depth to the squad.

For the overseas option, KKR doesn’t need bowlers as they already have Pat Cummins, Lockie Ferguson, and Sunil Narine on the books. They should look for a backup option for Andre Russell. Jimmy Neesham, Glenn Maxwell or Colin de Grandhomme could be two good options that can deputise Russell when needed.

Dube and an overseas all-rounder might suggest that they will not go straight into the lineup, but they are match winners when on song. Moreover, these players will do wonders for the competition in the team. Moreover, they will complement the batting lineup of the team and give bowlers enough runs to defend. In terms of chasing big totals, presence of these type of players give more belief to the team.

KKR will hope senior players step up in 2021

Despite a couple of good options, the big onus will be on senior players to step up in 2021. Eoin Morgan, Dinesh Karthik, and Andre Russell need to be consistent with the bat than they were last season. These three players are the spine of the batting unit. If they manage to hit the ground running this season, then KKR automatically becomes a dangerous outfit.

In the bowling unit, Pat Cummins will have to bring his best game for KKR. He has been sensational for Australia across all formats in the last two years, so there is no doubt about his skill and implementation. Along with Cummins, Sunil Narine will also need to be the leader in the bowling unit to help the young bowlers through their consistent performances. Along with two x-factor buys, KKR needs their big players to come clutch and deliver strong performances this season.

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