Players KKR May Let Go After a Disappointing 2019 Campaign
Kolkata Knight Riders had a forgetful IPL season this year where after winning their first four games they just lost the plot and took a beating in their next six games which turned around their campaign completely.
They were still in a position to enter the playoffs had they won the final league stage fixture against Mumbai Indians but a meek 9-wicket loss in that game meant they ended yet another campaign without a trophy. The exit has now left the franchise with plenty to think about and it won’t be a reach to say some players may be on their way out before the start of the next season.
Here are some of the players who may not be seen playing for KKR in the next season of IPL in 2020.
Robin Uthappa had one of his most disappointing IPL seasons scoring only 282 runs and averaging a meagre 31. He was woefully out of form as he failed to score big despite being given enough opportunities before eventually being dropped after 12 games.
In KKR’s reverse fixture against RCB at Eden Gardens, coming in to bat in the top 4, Uthappa scored 9 off 20 balls in a scenario where he had to get on with run-scoring from the outset. KKR fell short by 10 runs at the end and finished on 203/5, chasing a target of 214.
Uthappa’s repeated failures with the bat summed up his season that could perhaps be his final one with Kolkata.
After he took KKR to the knockouts in IPL 2018, everyone expected the same from Dinesh Karthik. What transpired, however, left everyone in shock as the wicket-keeper was nowhere close to the captain he was in his first season with Kolkata.
From ineffective team selections to on-field tactics to the usage of Andre Russell, everything about his captaincy this season was questionable. Questions on Russell getting fewer balls to bat in every match became a regular feature after most games.
Apart from the use of Russell, the way he rotated and used his bowlers during various stages of the game also became a talking point.
Talks of improper dressing room atmosphere also came in from Andre Russell in a pre-match press conference which also added to his misery as nothing worked for Karthik this season.
This disappointing season might just see the end of Dinesh Karthik with Kolkata Knight Riders as he was just not the same captain this season.
KKR’s primary option next season would be to add someone to their squad who will be able to step into Gautam Gambhir’s shoes and lead the team as beautifully as he did in title-winning campaigns.
One of the foreign recruits, England’s Joe Denly played only one game and was dropped from the playing XI. An all-rounder, he came to open the bat with Chris Lynn against KKR’s super-over encounter vs Delhi Capitals which was won by the Delhi.
With Andre Russell playing his all-rounder role to perfection, Denly isn't needed in the KKR playing XI and in all probability will be released by the franchise ahead of the IPL 2020 auctions.
Krishna was the biggest disappointment in KKR’s bowling attack as he leaked runs and hardly took any wickets. He took 10 in IPL 2018 and only 4 this year as besides being costly he was wayward as well. To make matters worse, he bowled at an economy of 9.35 in the campaign.
A bowler with raw pace, he concentrated mostly on his bouncers while not focusing at all on his variations.
His bouncers were direction-less while all the little variations he used were inaccurate as well.
Besides them, the two Mitchells, Starc and Johnson, were also released before the auction, taking away the factors of pace and experience in the bowling line-up.
With KKR looking to add more teeth to their bowling, 2020 might not see Krishna being retained by the franchise owners.
Also Read : I have worked on my consistency: Prasidh Krishna
One of the two foreign pacers in the KKR squad in IPL 2019, Lockie Ferguson was a disappointment.
Much like Prasidh, the Kiwi pacer was also an out and out pace bowler with little control. He leaked runs in almost every game he played as KKR were spoilt for choices and had to keep him playing for the first five games.
Roped in by KKR for Rs 1.60 crores in IPL 2019 auctions, Ferguson is not expected to be retained in IPL 2020 as the franchise is looking to churn out a new squad which hopefully wins them their third IPL title next year.
Thirty seven runs from 5 games at a strike rate of 108, Rinku Singh was the replacement for Robin Uthappa in the batting line-up at the end of their season but he failed to make the most of the opportunity.
Rinku, who began his IPL journey with KKR in 2018 might not see himself being retained for the next season as the batting line-up needs experienced players who can capitalise in the middle-overs.
Maharashtra’s wicket-keeper batsman Nikhil Naik who played his first season for KKR might see him being released ahead of IPL 2020 auctions. He played just one match for the franchise and scored just seven runs. Thereafter he was dropped as KKR lost six games at a stretch and never really recovered from their losses.
He has a List A average of of 33 and a T20 average of 39. Besides that he doesn't have have any domestic statistics to prove his prowess as a power hitter. His lack of experience might just cost him his place, with KKR in need of the experienced cricketers to overhaul their squad.
The next season thus becomes an important one for Kolkata Knight Riders with a team overhaul the need of the hour for the two-time IPL champions.