IPL 2020 Auction: Kolkata Knight Riders need to strengthen batting

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Ahead of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020 auction, two-time Indian Premier League champions Kolkata Knight Riders have a fresh set of coaching staff headed by their own ex-player and New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum.

KKR ahead of the IPL 2020 Auction seem to be in a major transitional phase as they have released premier batsmen Robin Uthappa and Chris Lynn along with other seasoned campaigners Piyush Chawla, Carlos Brathwaite, to name a few.

Having released their big guns, the Shah Rukh Khan co-owned franchisee has the second-highest purse left with ₹35.65 crore and a maximum of 11 slots, four of them overseas, to fill.

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Since 2014, Knight Riders have failed to win an IPL title and the Kolkata franchise will be eager to return to winning ways in the IPL 2020 but first trying to acquire a set of players who can give an edge to their campaign from the auction will be their primary target.

Insidesport.co previews at how the KKR different departments look like and what their possible targets could be in the auction.

BATTING

With Chris Lynn being released, Shubman Gill will be responsible for the top order of Knights along with Nitish Rana and skipper Dinesh Karthik. Lynn had been KKR’s opening batsman for the last three seasons and his partnership with West Indies off-break bowler Sunil Narine had been quite successful. With Uthappa, who was the designated No. 3, also released, the Kolkata-based franchise needs reinforcements in the batting department despite having traded Siddesh Lad from Mumbai Indians. Head Coach Brendon McCullum and the team management will be looking to find a possible replacement for Lynn and a good middle-order batsman to solidify their batting line-up. Some of the options in the management’s book will be Tom Banton, Even Lewis, Shaun Marsh, and Rahul Tripathi.

ALLROUNDERS

With just one genuine all-rounder in the form of Andre Russell, it is highly important that the Knights management bid for all-rounders in the IPL auction 2020 on December 19. Baba Aparajith, Jalaj Saxena, Deepak Hooda, Shubham Ranjane are some of the Indian allrounders who will be in the fray for the teams. The overseas allrounders will be much in light on the auction day. Players like Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Chris Morris, Pat Cummins, Chris Woakes, D’Arcy Short are the overseas allrounders for whom franchisees will go into bidding war when the auction arrives.

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BOWLING

The bowling appears settled with Narine himself a premier spinner alongside India’s left-arm chinaman bowler Kuldeep Yadav. The seam-bowling department will be spearheaded by Karnataka’s Prasidh Krishna and comprises New Zealand’s Lockie Ferguson, English left-arm seamer Harry Gurney, Kerala seamer Sandeep Warrier and two of India’s under-19 World Cup-winning players Kamlesh Nagarkoti and Shivam Mavi, who are expected to be fit for the upcoming season. However, having released Chawla, KKR might want to add another spin bowler to its squad. Options like R Sai Kishore, Chris Green, Qais Ahmad, Fabien Allen, Manimaran Siddharth, and Saurabh Kumar will be on the probable list of Brendon McCullum and co.

Players to pick: 11 with up to four overseas talent.
Salary Cap Available: ₹ 35.65 crores.

With 14 players already in the squad and 11 more to pick from the lot going into the auction with a fat purse of ₹35.65 crores, the main idea of Kolkata Knight Riders will be to go for a mix of overseas and domestic talent.

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