Expect Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) to be the busiest team of the lot at the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2024 auction, set to be conducted on December 19 in Dubai. Having released 12 players in the lead up to the IPL 2024 auction, KKR will look to fill up as many slots. Shreyas Iyer and the KKR management will need to make a minimum of six acquisitions to meet the minimum requirement of 18 squad players.
With names like Shakib Al Hasan, Litton Das, Aarya Desai, David Wiese, Narayan Jagadeesan, Mandeep Singh, Kulwant Khejroliya, Shardul Thakur, Lockie Ferguson, Umesh Yadav, Tim Southee, Johnson Charles on KKR’s release list after a disappointing seventh-place finish last season, the management will have their work cut out for them once the hammer drops in Dubai.
KKR’s retained players list for IPL 2024
Nitish Rana, Rinku Singh, Rahmanullah Gurbaz (wicketkeeper), Shreyas Iyer (captain), Jason Roy, Sunil Narine, Suyash Sharma, Anukul Roy, Andre Russell, Venkatesh Iyer, Harshit Rana, Vaibhav Arora, Varun Chakaravarthy
KKR will enter the IPL 2024 auction with a purse of 32.7 crore. Though it’s the third biggest purse among all teams, after Gujarat Titans and Sunrisers Hyderabad, the Kolkata team also has the most number of slots to fill, meaning the team management will have to be smart with their bidding picks.
Gautam Gambhir, who led the Kolkata side to two IPL titles, in 2012 and 2014, has joined the KKR management this season and the former India international’s proven tactical acumen can prove to be a big help at the auction.
KKR’s strategy for IPL 2024 auction
The Shahrukh Khan-owned franchisee is well-sorted in the spin department with Sunil Narine, Varun Chakravarthy and Suyash Yadav in their ranks. However, KKR needs some major reinforcements to bolster its pace attack, having let go of Shardul Thakur, Lockie Ferguson, Umesh Yadav and Tim Southee.
KKR will need to go all out for at least three frontline pacers. Mitchell Starc, who is marking a return to the IPL for the first time since 2015, will be the headline speedster at the auction. South Africa’s Gerald Coetzee and Australian international Josh Hazlewood are two other top names.
KKR, however, may go all out to reacquire the services of Australia’s Test and ODI captain Pat Cummins. Cummins was part of the Kolkata-based side at the 2022 IPL and will fit right into the team. The seamer will be a sought-after player at the auction having led his Australian team to the ODI World Cup and World Test Championships title in 2023.
England’s Gus Atkinson may also be a dark horse on Gambhir and the team’s radar.
Among Indian options, Harshal Patel, who has been released by Royal Challengers Bangalore, and reacquiring Shardul for a cheaper price may work well for KKR.
KKR are also in need of a specialist opener and Australia’s Travis Head, the Player of the Match in the ODI World Cup final vs India, will be the top pick for the spot.
The Kolkata franchise also needs one wicketkeeper to back up Gurbaz and Shashank Singh and Luvnith Sisodia may prove to be value picks for the position.
KKR already boasts a strong Indian core with the likes of Iyer, Nitish Rana, Varun Chakaravarthy, Venkatesh Iyer, Rinku Singh and Suyash Sharma in the squad. So going big to fill the remaining four overseas players slot and taking a punt on talented Indian youngsters at the upcoming auction can be a viable option for the two-time champions.
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