The Stars of the Kolkata Knight Riders – Past and Present
From Gambhir to Kallis and others, the Knight Riders have mixed their overseas and local stars well.
The veteran opening batsman spent several seasons with the KKR before leaving for Delhi. He is still Kolkata’s leading run-scorer and probably the best left-hander they have had.
Uthappa’s versatility is shown by his ability to open the batting or come to the crease in the middle order and play wicketkeeper. It is surprising that he has not played more ODI and T20I cricket for the Indian national team.
He doesn’t bowl as much as he used to, but back in the day was a formidable spinning all-rounder. Nowadays, he is a kingpin in the batting order. Pathan is really good at timing fuller lengths down the ground.
Arguably the hottest property in T20 cricket, aside from Chris Gayle, Russell can blast an attack with the bat and return some favours with the ball as well. He travels the world as a T20 freelancer of sorts and Kolkata is his current Indian home. Shubman Gill, in particular, can learn a lot from Russell.
Kallis took his superb experience for the Proteas, gathered over more than a decade, and put it into play with KKR as a batsman, bowler, mentor and coach. He was flexible with bat and ball, batting up or down the order and bowling late in the innings or up front.
Narine is a masterful spinner and often opens the bowling for the Knight Riders. His variations are swift and often bamboozle batsmen looking to hit him over the top. More recently in IPL 2019, he has been opening the batting as a pinch-hitter as well.
The chubby-cheeked leg-spinner has been a loyal KKR servant since 2014 and weighs in with some valuable runs down the order on occasion, too. Wrist spinners are so important to T20 cricket, as shown by Kuldeep Yadav, Chawla, Imran Tahir and others.
It’s important that each and every Indian Premier League team has an Indian fast bowler who can adjust lines, lengths and paces according to conditions. Yadav is exactly that man for KKR. He’s tall and quick – and a major threat at the start or close of the innings.
Shakib Al Hasan
He is sometimes a one-man army with bat and ball for Bangladesh, but gets a lot more support with both at Kolkata, where he is one of their overseas stars. He has loads of captaincy experience as well, so even if he is not the skipper on the day, he is able to advise regular captain Dinesh Karthik. He is banned at the moment, though, so won’t be able to do this in the 2020 IPL.
The big, booming South African fast bowler showed for many years at KKR that his prowess for the Proteas could also be worked into Indian franchise cricket.