Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) are one of the most successful IPL franchises having lifted the trophy twice. However, they haven’t won the trophy since 2014 and after a 5th place-finish last season, they will be itching to put things right and build a title-winning squad.
KKR will have a purse of just Rs. 10.75 crores and have 8 available slots out of which two are for overseas players. They will have to utilize their budget efficiently as it won’t be an easy task to fill all the gaps in their squad with a rather modest budget at their disposal.
KKR currently have Eoin Morgan, Pat Cummins, Lockie Ferguson, Andre Russell, Sunil Narine, and Tim Seifert as their overseas players and will look to buy another couple who would give their squad a more complete look. They could certainly do with backups for Russell and Narine and could also go for an overseas opener.
On that note, here’s a look at 5 overseas players KKR could target in the auction:
1. Tanveer Sangha
Tanveer Sangha was pretty much an unknown teenager before the start of this season’s Big Bash League, but an excellent campaign meant that the Sydney Thunder player is now a part of Australia’s T20I squad and he is surely going to be a target for a few of the IPL teams ahead of the auction.
The 19-year-old picked up 21 wickets in 15 games at a strike rate of 13.5 and conceded runs at an economy 8.08. The Indian-origin leg-spinner was quite impressive in last year’s U19 World Cup where he got 15 wickets.
Sunil Narine’s batting hasn’t been great over the last couple of seasons, and as a result, KKR have been using him predominantly as a bowler. However, his returns with the ball have also been poor in the last 2 seasons and hence, the franchise might want to bring in Sangha for some competition.
2. Colin Munro
Colin Munro has the ability to be one of the most destructive batsmen in the world when he gets going. The left-hander’s innovative style of batting has often caused problems for teams and his skill in taking down spinners is quite amazing.
He has scored 6956 runs in 285 T20s at an average of nearly 30 and his strike rate of 143.24 is exceptional. The New Zealander has shown great form in the ongoing BBL and has scored 441 runs in 14 innings. While Shubman Gill did a decent job at the top of the order last season, the other openers were pretty inconsistent.
Although they have Tim Seifert, he hasn’t played in India and KKR might not want to risk having such an inexperienced player as their first-choice overseas opener. Munro would probably be the better option with Seifert as his backup. KKR have often bought players who have represented TKR, and thus there is a decent chance that Morgan’s team could bid for him.
3. Shakib Al Hasan
Shakib Al Hasan is one of the best all-rounders in the world at present, and it would certainly not harm KKR to have him on their shortlist. A reliable batsman and an excellent bowler, the Bangladesh all-rounder would be a valuable player for most teams given his versatility.
The former SRH player has scored 5080 runs and picked up 360 wickets in 317 T20s. The 33-year-old was in great form during the ODI series against West Indies as he scored 113 runs and picked up 6 wickets.
He could be of use to KKR as he would provide solid competition for places and would keep the likes of Andre Russell and Sunil Narine on their toes. Having such quality in the squad would also allow them to change their team depending on the conditions and the opposition. Shakib has also played for the Knight Riders in the past.
4. Mujeeb Ur Rahman
One of the many mystery spinners to have emerged from Afghanistan in recent times, Mujeeb Ur Rahman has had a very good career thus far. The 19-year-old has a lot of tricks up his sleeve as he bowls both off-spin and leg-spin. The former KXIP bowler can even bowl in the powerplay and certainly knows how to restrict the flow of runs at the beginning.
He has picked up 145 wickets in 132 games at a strike rate of 20.6 and has an excellent economy rate of just 6.64. The Brisbane Heat player was excellent in the Big Bash and picked up 14 wickets in 8 games while conceding runs at a miserly 6.26. He also picked a five-wicket haul against Hobart Hurricanes.
Mujeeb has been included here for the same reason as Tanveer Sangha, but the Afghan spinner offers more experience and more quality than the Australian leggie. In fact, Mujeeb would arguably get into the playing XI ahead of Sunil Narine based on current form and thus KKR should go for him if he is available at the right price.
5. Ben Cutting
Buying a backup for Andre Russell will undoubtedly be KKR’s biggest priority going into the auction, and there aren’t many players who would be better than Ben Cutting for that role. He will most likely be available for a low price as well, which would allow them to invest in other areas without much constraint.
The Australian has scored 2319 runs in 166 games at a terrific strike rate of 150.19. He has also picked up 127 wickets at a strike rate of 21.1 and is more than capable of being a squad player. Cutting has previously played in the IPL and even won the Man of the Match award in 2016 final when he was a part of the Sunrisers.
He had an excellent time with the Sydney Thunder this season, scoring 280 runs at a strike rate of 156.42 and even chipped in with 3 wickets while conceding at less than 8. His big-hitting ability and useful pace bowling would be great assets for the team.
Source: The source of this content is our cricket news platform Crictracker.
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