Ingrained in them the glitz and glamour that their co-owner Shahrukh Khan, the King Khan of Bollywood, embodies, Kolkata Knight Riders, with their war cry "Korbo Lorbo Jeetbo Re", have always captivated the imagination of cricketing fans around the country.
However, winning the last of their two IPL titles way back in 2014, the Kolkata-based franchise has failed to reach the finals since then. But come the upcoming season of the yearly cricketing carnival, KKR will be on the prowl to amend that record and clinch the coveted title.
Last season, owing to a poor net run rate, KKR finished 5th on the points table with 14 points. Throughout the tournament, the Kolkata side kept tweaking their batting order, which often disrupted their rhythm. Meanwhile, the downfall in Sunil Narine's form also didn't aid the team.
However, led by Eoin Morgan, the purple and gold brigade have made solid reinforcement this season to walk into the tournament with an excellent mix of youth and experience. In the 2021 auction, the Knight Riders made quality signings in most departments.
The pivotal signing was roping in Shakib Al Hasan for Rs. 3.20 crore in an auction where all-rounders were going for a fortune. Coupled with Varun Chakravarthy, Shakib will run riots on spin-friendly wickets with his bag full of variations.
KKR will be spoilt for options in the spin department with their new acquisitions Harbhajan Singh and Pawan Negi.
Meanwhile, Pat Cummins along with Lockie Ferguson will spearhead the pace unit. On the Bangalore track, KKR could opt for a third seamer with Shivam Mavi and Kamlesh Nagarkoti waiting in the ranks.
While KKR has an incredible amount of firepower down the order with Morgan, Andre Russell and Dinesh Karthik, it is in the initial overs where the side has looked shaky.
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Shubman Gill and Nitish Rana opened the innings for the Kolkata side in the backend of last season, however, there is clearly a lack of explosiveness up top. If Rana or Rahul Tripathi both fail to capitalise on their chances, KKR could opt to play the newly-acquired Madhya Pradesh opener Venkatesh Iyer.
In the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy this season, Iyer averaged 75.66 runs and had a strike rate of nearly 150.
Kolkata Knight Riders will start the season with a clash against David Warner-led Sunrisers Hyderabad in Chennai on April 11.
Kolkata Knight Riders Full Squad:
Shubman Gill, Nitish Rana, Tim Seifert (wk), Rahul Tripathi, Rinku Singh, Dinesh Karthik (wk), Eoin Morgan (c), Andre Russell, Sunil Narine, Varun CV, Kuldeep Yadav, Pat Cummins, Lockie Ferguson, Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Shivam Mavi, Sandeep Warrier, Prasidh Krishna, Shakib Al Hasan, Sheldon Jackson, Vaibhav Arora, Karun Nair, Harbhajan Singh, Ben Cutting, Venkatesh Iyer, Pawan Negi