IPL: Knight Riders goes big on uncapped talents

The most striking factor in KKR's choice of players is the amount spent on getting talented under-19 Indians. It purchased top-order batsman Shubman Gill and two promising pacemen in Kamlesh Nagarkoti and Shivam Mavi for Rs 8 crore.

Chris Lynn and Sunil Narine will hope to give quick starts to Kolkata Knight Riders in this season's IPL.   -  PTI

Kolkata Knight Riders may have taken a risk by buying the least number of players – 19 – while exhausting its maximum fund of Rs 80 crore in the just-concluded Indian Premier League (IPL) auctions.

KKR may have put in place a solid squad, but it has restricted its options for a two-month long league. Needless to say, teams with 25 players will have more flexibility.

The most interesting fact about KKR’s auction is the team winning back some of its key spinners and maintaining the variety in its attack. The retention of Sunil Narine and the getting back Kuldeep Yadav and Piyush Chawla through wise use of RTM has not disturbed the spin department.

Retention of an impact all-rounder in Andre Russell is a well though-out strategy.

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The franchise may have released top pacemen Umesh Yadav and Chris Woakes, but it has done well in hiring the Australian left-arm duo of Mitchell Starc and Mitchell Johnson.

The Jacques Kallis-coached side, which released its long-time captain Gautam Gambhir, has played its cards well to get a good batting unit, including uncapped Indians such as Nitish Rana, Ishank Jaggi, Rinku Singh and Apoorv Wankhade.

Experienced campaigners such as Chris Lynn, Dinesh Karthik and Robin Uthappa form the core of the batting.

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KKR has always banked on all-rounders to have a balanced side and this time it chose R. Vinay Kumar, South African Cameron Delport, its Trinbago Knight Riders' member Javon Searles of West Indies apart from Russell to have a lot of alternatives.

The most striking factor in KKR's choice of players is the amount spent on getting talented under-19 Indians. It purchased top-order batsman Shubman Gill and two promising pacemen in Kamlesh Nagarkoti and Shivam Mavi for Rs 8 crore.

KKR committing Rs 13 crore for eight uncapped players, including two foreigners, speaks of the trust reposed on talent by its think-tank.

THE SQUAD

Sunil Narine, Andre Russell, Chris Lynn, Mitchell Starc, Dinesh Karthik, Robin Uthappa, Kuldeep Singh Yadav, Piyush Chawla, Nitish Rana, Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Shivam Mavi, Mitchell Johnson, Shubman Gill, Ranganath Vinay Kumar, Rinku Singh, Cameron Delport, Javon Searless, Apoorv Vijay Wankhade, Ishank Jaggi.