IPL 2022 | Will Shreyas Iyer stand tall for KKR to bring back the good old days?


Before the bidding war at the 2022 IPL auction, KKR had retained two foreign players in Andre Russell and Sunil Narine and had kept their faith in Venkatesh Iyer and Varun Chakravarthy. Except for Russell, the trio had a decent second half in the IPL 2021 which helped them reach the final last season.

After three disappointing seasons in the Indian Premier League (IPL), Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) have decided to appoint Venky Mysore as CEO of the Purple and Gold Brigade in a bid to rebuild the franchise. The rest, as they say, is history.

Mysore, since taking over, has taken big risks in the auctions, often criticized at the start, but which later turned out to be serious acquisitions. Think tank KKR, led by Mysore, don’t believe in making too many changes to the team. The 2022 auction, held in Bangalore on February 12-13, was no different.

Before the bidding war, KKR had retained two foreign players in Andre Russel and Sunil Narine, and also kept their faith in Venkatesh Iyer and Varun Chakravarthy. With the exception of Russell, the trio had a decent second half in the IPL 2021 which helped them reach the final before being knocked out of the park by Chennai Super Kings.

Despite spending a total of INR 34 crore on four of their retainers, KKR participated in the IPL 2022 auction with a purse of INR 48 crore, as a standard deduction of INR 42 crore was made from their total purse regardless or the salary of their players. Similar to the 2011 edition, KKR’s top priority in the last auction was to acquire the services of an influential leader. They hooked up Gautam Gambhir from Delhi’s daredevils at this moment. And this time around, they trusted Shreyas Iyer, another player who had managed the Delhi-based franchise in the past.

Safe to say that either way, KKR couldn’t have found a better possible captaincy candidate from the available options. When Gambhir arrived, he helped them win the title twice in three years (2012 and 2014). Can Shreyas manage to replicate the same, or maybe even better? Well, we’ll see soon.

Let’s take a look at the full Kolkata Knight Riders squad for IPL 2022:

Shreyas Iyer (c), Andre Russell, Varun Chakravarthy, Venkatesh Iyer, Sunil Narine, Nitish Rana, Shivam Mavi, Sheldon JacksonPat Cummins, Ajinkya RahaneRinku Singh, Anukul Roy, Rasikh Dar, Chamika Karunaratne, Baba Indrajith, Ashok Sharma, Pratham Singh, Abhijeet Tomar, Sam Billings, Aaron Finch, Ramesh Kumar, Mohammad NabiAman Khan, Umesh Yadav.

Let’s take a look at the in-depth analysis from the KKR team.

Not So Safe Favorable Openings

Kolkata had a powerful strike option at the top after agreeing a deal with Alex Hales at the 2022 auction. Many would have thought 2022 could be Hales’ breakthrough year in the IPL, but the Englishman has decided to pull out of the upcoming season due to bio-bubble fatigue. The franchise, as a back-up, was then forced to bring reigning T20 World Cup-winning captain Aaron Finch to the Knights galaxy.

This will be Finch’s ninth IPL franchise, an individual record for any player in tournament history. However, he has never managed to live up to the highest expectations of the IPL in the past, racking up 2,005 runs in 85 innings at a strike rate of 127.71, and his new assignment with Kolkata will, without a doubt. doubt, a severe test.

Given the franchise’s past bidding interests, Finch will be an early starter for Kolkata to open innings alongside Venkatesh Iyer. The 27-year-old has been in the form of his life since he started making an impact in the IPL 2021 second leg and will be looking to build on that momentum to boost his chances of a place in the squad Indian for the next game. T20 World Cup.

If Finch fails to make the grade, Kolkata can opt for Ajinkya Rahane at the top. They can even go with Sam Billings, who is ideally an intermediate specialist, as an opener. In fact, Billings’ promotion can solve Kolkata’s two critical issues, one is about holding the wicket and the other is a reliable hitter to pair with Venkatesh Iyer.

But it is still unclear who will be the first fly-half for Kolkata Knight Riders, which surprisingly may be a blessing in disguise for them.

Mid-Level Solid Beaters

With the additions of Shreyas, who will likely beat at No. 3 if not No. 4, Kolkata has taken Nitish Rana down to a hefty INR 8 crore. Rana, since joining Kolkata since Bombay Indians in 2018, scored 1,079 carries in 45 IPL games at a striker rate of 131, and the franchise showed no hesitation in the bid table to bring him back.

Shreyas’ numbers in the IPL are equally impressive. He has 2,375 points in 87 games at an average of 31.67, batting at 123.96. In 2020, under his captaincy, the Delhi Capitals reached the IPL Finals for the first time.

IPL 2022 | Will Shreyas Iyer stand tall for KKR to bring back the good old days?Shreyas Iyer breaks IPL records © SportsCafe Graphics Team

With Finch slated for first choice by Kolkata, 2022 could be the year for Sheldon Jackson to show his skills at the highest level. Jackson has been consistent for Saurashtra on the National Tour for over a decade now, and he will head to IPL 2022 after a decent campaign for the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, where he scored 271 points in six matches at 141.88 .

With Shreyas and Rana at numbers 3 and 4, the 35-year-old wicketkeeper is likely to pursue them.

Powerful finishers

Traditionally, Kolkata beat deep because they have a powerful all-rounder. Despite Andre Russell’s fitness concerns and a subpar performance in the last two editions, where he only managed 300 runs out of 20 outings at an average of 19.57, the franchise chose not to releasing the great Jamaican for the 2022 auction, likely keeping the lack of identical substitute options in mind.

Kolkata hopes to see vintage ‘Dre Russ’, the 2015 and 2019 IPL MVP, back in the next edition. Don’t forget that he is one of the very few to have broken more sixes (143) than fours (119) in the tournament. In the 2022 auction, Kolkata made a smart move by bringing in Pat Cummins at INR 7.25 crore. Cummins may not have had his best IPL season with the ball yet, taking 38 wickets in 37 games at a save rate of 8.23, but he has evolved as a skipper in the Australian Test setup. He even played a few practice shots lower in Kolkata’s order, and the franchise trusts him as the leader of their bowling unit.

IPL 2022 | Will Shreyas Iyer stand tall for KKR to bring back the good old days?
IPL 2022 | Will Shreyas Iyer stand tall for KKR to bring back the good old days?Andre Russell’s IPL batting records © SportsCafe Graphics Team

Although he has played stellar cameos in the past, Sunil Narine is expected to be used primarily as a specialist spinner in the IPL 2022. Last season, the management of the Kolkata team, led by Brendon McCullum, tried it as a float many times, but it didn’t work once. He will probably beat at No. 8, if not No. 7. After an ordinary 2020 IPL, Narine had enjoyed significant success last year, taking 16 wickets in 14 matches at an excellent save rate of 6.44 to help his team to reach the final. Overall, he has 143 IPL wickets in 133 games, the seventh most in tournament history.

Lack of variety in bowling

Kolkata architect turned cricketer Varun Chakravarthy has been a revelation since leaving the Punjab Kings after 2019. His numbers for the franchise are so prodigious (36 wickets in 30 games, saving 6.71) , that he forced them to hold him in front of Shubman. Gil. As in 2021, the eight overs allocated to him and Narine, often described as “mysterious”, will be key.

The two former Kolkata fast bowlers, Prasidh Krishna and Lockie Ferguson, went for a staggering price of INR 10 crore each at the 2022 auction. Due to budget constraints, the franchise had to sacrifice them but they have brought 23-year-old sensation Shivam Mavi to INR 7.25 crore. Mavi, despite having played for Kolkata in the last three editions, still lacks consistency having taken 25 wickets in 26 games at 8.29 which can be troublesome. Although Mavi, with her raw pace, which often exceeds 140 km/h, could be clinical this season due to the additional responsibility and the exorbitant price.

IPL 2022 | Will Shreyas Iyer stand tall for KKR to bring back the good old days?
IPL 2022 | Will Shreyas Iyer stand tall for KKR to bring back the good old days?Sunil Narine bowling records in IPL © SportsCafe Graphics Team

If Russell stays fully fit, Kolkata can’t opt ​​for a three-man pace attack and play a specialist hitter, as they already have Venkatesh as a versatile fast bowler. Alternatively, the franchise may opt for the experienced Umesh Yadav to complete the lineup. Despite being an IPL veteran, having won 119 wickets in 121 matches, Umesh had not been a regular starter for his former side Delhi Capitals. This is also his comeback season for Kolkata after three years,

IPL 2022 | Will Shreyas Iyer stand tall for KKR to bring back the good old days?
IPL 2022 | Will Shreyas Iyer stand tall for KKR to bring back the good old days?Andre Russell bowling records in IPL © SportsCafe Graphics Team

Kolkata’s strongest possible XI for IPL 2022: Venkatesh Iyer, Aaron Finch, Shreyas Iyer (c), Nitish Rana, Sheldon Jackson (wk), Andre Russell, Pat Cummins, Sunil Narine, Shivam Mavi, Umesh Yadav, Varun Chakravarthy.

In a preface to the book Cricket 2.0: Inside the T20 Revolution, Harsha Bhogle wrote that “The Indian Premier League (IPL) is a giant laboratory where innovations are studied”. Kolkata has bought a few well-known cricketers this time around, like Aman Khan, Ashok Sharma, Pratham Singh, as well as Abhijeet Tomar, and it wouldn’t be surprising if any of them hit new heights at the end of the season. .

For this, the return of Shreyas Iyer as captain and his tactics to meet the hopes of thousands of fans are key.

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