KKR team after 2014 win (Image: PTI)
From a shaky start in early seasons of the tournament to going on to win two titles, Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) have witnessed roller coaster ride so far. The much coveted tenth season is here and like all these years the team would be believing in their theme title “Korbo Lorbo Jeetbo” one more time.
KKR has been a hot favourite among the supporters. The emotional fan following propelled the team’s brand value to enormous heights which is also the highest among all the teams by quite a margin. KKR owner and Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan have given his all to the team and is now known to participate dearly during the tournaments so far.
It indeed is a magnificent sight when about a lakh supporter cheer for their favourite team KKR at the premier stadia Eden Gardens. With SRK on aisles of Eden Gardens with his gang involving the who’s who of Bollywood, the team gets ample off the field support all the time. SRK literally rocked it when the team came out victorious for the first time in 2012. The pomp and splendour were in signature KKR style.
KKR has always been blessed with a great team. The skipper Gautam Gambhir has been the highest run scorer for the team in the tournament history so far. As well, the elite players who have donned the jersey of KKR have been Sourav Ganguly, Brendon Mccullum, Shoaib Akhtar, Jacques Kallis and many more. Mccullum lit up the entire scenario with a humungous 158 runs in an opening match of IPL was an overwhelming scene.
KKR has been blessed with players who have been consistently taking the field for them. Gautam Gambhir, Robin Uthappa, Yusuf Pathan, Sunil Narine, Andre Russel, Manish Pandey, Suryakumar Yadav, Shakib Al Hasan, Umesh Yadav, Piyush Chawla are the players who have been regularly playing for the franchise. With so many regulars in the team, the team has a comfortable dressing room.
However, this year, the absence of Andre Russell will be quite a dampener. Andre Russell has been one impact all-rounder who excelled with both bat and ball. The power hitter that he is, there is no such score which is out of reach. Surely, a big blow for the team. The void will be hard to fill in. Chris Woakes will find it difficult to fill the boots of Russell.
With them qualifying for the playoffs in 2011, KKR’s team performance has improved as the tournament has progressed. Last time as well in 2016, they had qualified for the playoffs. They are definitely a force to reckon with and cannot be discounted with a huge cache of talent that they have. The momentum is also with them as they qualified for playoffs in 2011 and 2016 and won the titles in 2012 and 2014.
KKR is also the team which has been unbeatable in finals so far. Whenever they have been in finals, they have come out victorious. It augurs well for them as they have a very effective conversion rate. Teams facing them in final stages need to be extra careful against this formidable side.
As far as new players are concerned, New Zealand all-rounder Colin de Grandhomme has been roped in as a replacement to Andre Russell.
During the 2017 auction, Trent Boult (5 Cr), Chris Woakes (4.20 Cr), Rishi Dhawan (55 Lakhs), Nathan Coulter-Nile (3.5 Cr), Rovman Powell (30 Lakh), R Sanjay Yadav (10 Lakh), Ishank Jaggi (10 Lakh) have been added to the side.
Kolkata Knight Riders
Complete squad: Gautam Gambhir, Sunil Narine, Kuldeep Yadav, Manish Pandey, Suryakumar Yadav, Piyush Chawla, Robin Uthappa, Shakib Al Hasan, Chris Lynn, Umesh Yadav, Yusuf Pathan, Sheldon Jackson, Ankit Singh Rajput, Trent Boult, Chris Woakes, Colin de Grandhomme, Rishi Dhawan, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Rovman Powell, R Sanjay Yadav, Ishank Jaggi, Darren Bravo, Sayan Ghosh.
Batsmen: Manish Pandey, Robin Uthappa, Gautam Gambhir, Chris Lynn, Suryakumar Yadav, Darren Bravo, Rovman Powell, Ishank Jaggi
All-rounders: Shakib Al Hasan, Colin de Grandhomme, Yusuf Pathan, Chris Woakes, Rishi Dhawan
Wicketkeepers: Robin Uthappa, Sheldon Jackson
Bowlers: Ankit Rajpoot, Kuldeep Yadav, Umesh Yadav, Piyush Chawla, Sunil Narine, Trent Boult, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Sayan Ghosh