IPL 2023, KKR: Squad analysis, schedule, Probable XI, and verdict
Kolkata Knight Riders have several issues to ponder upon ahead of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2023 season. KKR are awaiting the final confirmation on skipper Shreyas Iyer, who is likely to miss the tournament. Also, with Bangladesh being involved with Ireland for a full-fledged series, the availability of Litton Das and Shakib Al Hasan for the first few games is in doubt.
Key signings for KKR at IPL 2023 mini-auction
KKR roped in N. Jagadeesan for Rs. 90 lakh during the mini-auction. All-rounders David Wiese (Rs. 1 crore) and Shakib Al Hasan (Rs. 1.5 crore) were also purchased, besides a few young Indian players. Besides, KKR also traded in Lockie Ferguson from Gujarat Titans and Shardul Thakur from Delhi Capitals.
Run in previous seasons
KKR are two-time IPL winners, claiming the coveted trophy under Gautam Gambhir in 2012 and 2014 respectively. KKR also reached the final in 2021, losing against Chennai Super Kings. KKR have reached the playoffs on four occasions in 2011, 2016, 2017, and 2018 respectively. On eight occasions, they have crashed out in the league stage itself.
KKR's squad for IPL 2023
KKR squad for IPL 2023: Shreyas Iyer (c), Nitish Rana, Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Venkatesh Iyer, Andre Russell, Sunil Narine, Shardul Thakur, Lockie Ferguson, Umesh Yadav, Tim Southee, Harshit Rana, Varun Chakravarthy, Anukul Roy, Rinku Singh, N. Jagadeesan, Vaibhav Arora, Suyash Sharma, David Wiese, Kulwant Khejroliya, Litton Das, Mandeep Singh, Shakib Al Hasan.
A look at KKR's schedule (Part 1)
April 1: Punjab Kings vs Kolkata Knight Riders, Mohali (3:30 PM IST) April 6: Kolkata Knight Riders vs Royal Challengers Bangalore, Kolkata (7:30 PM IST) April 9: Gujarat Titans vs Kolkata Knight Riders, Ahmedabad (3:30 PM IST) April 14: Kolkata Knight Riders vs Sunrisers Hyderabad, Kolkata (7:30 PM IST) April 16: Mumbai Indians vs Kolkata Knight Riders, Mumbai (3:30 PM IST)
A look at KKR's schedule (Part 2)
April 20: Delhi Capitals vs Kolkata Knight Riders, Delhi (7:30 PM IST) April 23: Kolkata Knight Riders vs Chennai Super Kings, Kolkata (7:30 PM IST) April 26: Royal Challengers Bangalore vs Kolkata Knight Riders, Bengaluru (7:30 PM IST) April 29: Kolkata Knight Riders vs Gujarat Titans, Kolkata (3:30 PM IST) May 4: Sunrisers Hyderabad vs Kolkata Knight Riders, Hyderabad (7:30 PM IST)
A look at KKR's schedule (Part 3)
May 8 - Kolkata Knight Riders vs Punjab Kings, Kolkata (7:30 PM IST) May 11 - Kolkata Knight Riders vs Rajasthan Royals, Kolkata (7:30 PM IST) May 14 - Chennai Super Kings vs Kolkata Knight Riders, Chennai (7:30 PM IST) May 20 - Kolkata Knight Riders vs Lucknow Super Giants, Kolkata (7:30 PM IST)
KKR Probable XI for IPL 2023
KKR Probable XI: Venkatesh Iyer, Rahmanullah Gurbaz (wk), N Jagadeesan, Nitish Rana, Rinku Singh, Andre Russell, Shardul Thakur, Sunil Narine, Umesh Yadav, Tim Southee, Varun Chakravarthy
The strengths of KKR in IPL 2023
KKR have an able batting line-up and for the first few games, they can fill in Rahmanullah Gurbaz for Litton. Andre Russell is a powerful performer, who can chip in both with bat and ball. He enjoyed a strong IPL 2022 season. KKR's spin unit looks solid with Sunil Narine leading the line. Tim Southee will lead a strong pace unit.
What are the weaknesses?
Iyer's absence is the biggest weakness for KKR. One suddenly gets robbed of a star player in that middle order. KKR will be forced to alter their playing XI to find a balance. Also, the absence of Litton and Shakib initially could hurt KKR.KKR does not boast of a solid bench, especially in batting and this could hurt them.
Verdict: KKR will miss out on playoffs this season
Iyer's back injury and the possible surgery lined up will hurt KKR. Also, the batting gets weakened. KKR are likely to select Southee as their skipper and that will be a good move. However, the batting is a worry and that's where KKR may struggle. Iyer's absence could lead to an imbalance and although KKR are strong in certain aspects, the depth is missing.