KKR ‘very happy’ with the buys

KKR CEO Venky Mysore, however, is happy with the buys. Interacting with the media on the sidelines of the auction, Mysore made it clear that getting Chris Woakes on board is a big thing for the franchise.

Chris Woakes will feature for the Kolkata Knight Riders in the tenth season of the IPL.   -  K. R. Deepak

As the Indian Premier League (IPL) auction got underway here on Monday morning, all eyes were on Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR). With one of its star players Andre Russell facing a ban, the franchise had a tough task of picking up the right players.

KKR CEO Venky Mysore, however, is happy with the buys. Interacting with the media on the sidelines of the auction, Mysore made it clear that getting Chris Woakes on board is a big thing for the franchise.

“Very happy with where we are. It is not easy to replace a player like Andre Russell. He had given us such good balance. But then, getting Chris Woakes is a big thing,” Mysore said.

Heaping praises on the England bowler, Mysore added: “He’s done a fantastic job, in terms of wicket taking, economy rate. He can bowl up front and at the death.”

The CEO also admitted that it was its former coach Trevor Bayliss, who chipped in with a word of praise for the 27-year-old England bowler. “Trevor told us, He’s very close to becoming a world class all rounder’. We wanted a foreign bowler, someone who could take wickets up front and at the death.”

And perhaps, that’s why the franchise is also happy to have roped in Trent Boult. “We wanted Boult, and we got him,” Mysore said with a smile.



Watch out for Powell

The name may ring a bell, but Rovman Powell is still a new name in the international cricket arena. So, when KKR picked up the Jamaican all-rounder for Rs. 30 lakh, it did raise a few eyebrows.

But then, Mysore feels that Powell could play a crucial role for the team, when the action begins in April. “Watch out for Powell. He’s a young star. People in Jamaica call him young Russell. We’ve seen him up close in the Caribbean, where we have a team. He’s an emerging player. Watch out for him,” Mysore said.

If Powell’s inclusion is a reason to rejoice for the Kolkata franchise, it also strengthened the bowling attack by roping in Nathan Coulter-Nile. “Coulter Nile is a good all-rounder. He can come lower down the order and smack the ball. So, we are very pleased with the buys.”



Spin Boost

With the Eden Gardens pitch re-laid, the home team is looking forward to reap the maximum benefits. “There’s a general sense that wickets around the country are changing. Even in Kolkata, they’ve re-laid the pitch.

"When we travel away, teams are not giving us spinning tracks. But we have Piyush, Shakib, Kuldeep, who’re good. We had a little bit of spin bias…We needed more balance, and that’s why we needed a solid bowling attack," the seasoned CEO said.



Not releasing Russell

So what if Andre Russell is facing a ban, the Knights haven’t released him. “It’s unfortunate that Russell has received a sanction for what I would call an administrative error. Some slip up has happened, because of which he is banned. This year, he can't play, but we haven’t released him. Next year, depending on retention rules, we'll see,” Mysore said.

After Ishank Jaggi and Powell went unsold initially, the Knights brought them back, and the CEO insisted that it was a part of the plan. “We brought them back as it was part of the plan. It was by design,” he said.