While the original expectation was that the Indian Premier League’s 14th edition would be preceded by a mega auction, franchises are set for another short-term recruitment drive. With no new teams added to the league, the eight existing franchises were given the chance to retain the bulk of their squad. And so, a maximum of 61 slots spread across teams are to be filled up during the IPL 2021 auction, to be held in Chennai. The tournament is expected to be played in India, starting from April. You can read about rest of the teams here.
Kolkata Knight Riders should have done better with the talent at their disposal during IPL 2020. They finished the league stage in fifth position, tied on 14 points with Royal Challengers Bangalore and Sunrisers Hyderabad, and missed out on a playoff spot due to net run-rate: a deficit of 0.042. It has been a bit of a trend for KKR, that they struggle for consistency over the course of a campaign and end up underachieving.
The two-time IPL champions struggled for stability right through the season, with injuries and lack of form for key players hampering their progress. KKR didn’t go on a big losing streak like some of the other teams did, but they struggled to string together consecutive victories to gain confidence and momentum.
Dinesh Karthik led KKR in the first seven matches, before handing over the reins to England’s Eoin Morgan. The move did not bear great results on paper, but it is the path the franchise is sticking to for the upcoming campaign.
Results in last three seasons
|Season||League stage finish||Playoff result|
|IPL 2018||3rd||Lost Qualifier 2|
The Brendon McCullum-Eoin Morgan combo has clearly decided to back their existing squad and have made very minimal changes. The players released are all squad options, and it did not really free up any more funds to improve their core team significantly.
Players released after IPL 2020: Chris Green, Harry Gurney, M Siddharth, Nikhil Naik, Siddhesh Lad, Tom Banton
Player traded in/out: None
There were rumours floating around about Kuldeep Yadav and Dinesh Karthik not being retained for this year but KKR pride themselves on their core strengths and they have backed their Indian stars to come out. Kuldeep is short of game time but if he finds his confidence, he would be an asset in Indian conditions while DK will be high on confidence after leading Tamil Nadu to the title in Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 Trophy. The team will feel pretty good about where they are with Shubman Gill too. They could have looked at letting Pat Cummins go back into the pool and open up some funds and it’s a surprise that wasn’t the call taken.
KKR squad for IPL 2021 ahead of auction
|Eoin Morgan||Kamlesh Nagarkoti||Dinesh Karthik||Andre Russell|
|Shubman Gill||Kuldeep Yadav||Sunil Narine|
|Nitish Rana||Lockie Ferguson||Pat Cummins|
|Rinku Singh||Prasidh Krishna|
|Rahul Tripathi||Sandeep Warrier|
It’s becoming a bit of a trend for KKR to go into an auction with not much funds left in comparison to the slots left to fill. They have not bothered to fill up their full quota of 25 places and that is likely to be the case again.
Salary cap remaining: Rs 10.75 crores
Overall slots remaining: 8
Overseas slots remaining: 2
Areas to target
- Backup overseas allrounder(s)
- Opening batsman (overseas or Indian)
- Consistent Indian middle-order batsman
- Backup wicketkeeper
KKR’s strength lies in their Indian core but the batting order struggled for consistency in 2020. Gill impressed in fits and starts but the team often found itself shuffling about their batting order and finding themselves in trouble during the powerplay overs. Gill is a fixture at the start and KKR need to either decide to back Tripathi again or look for options in the auction to improve their top order.
The bowling unit is loaded for Indian conditions and perhaps just lacking a left-arm pace option at a budget price. While the team will be hoping Andre Russell reaches his best once again after a disappointing season, there is a clear need to find a backup for him (and possibly for Narine too) and that is likely where there is focus will be among the overseas players.
With DK’s struggles in the first half of the innings and the skills of Morgan and the former captain in the death overs, KKR could also look at strengthening their batting order with an Indian batsman who can offer consistency. That could be a wicketkeeper as well to provide backup to DK.
IPL 2021: Purse & squad details before auction
|Franchise||Purse remaining (Rs crores)||Available Slots||Overseas Slots|
The auction will be telecast on Star Sports Network on 18 February from 3 pm IST.