Arguably the pursuit of the season, provides KKR with a rolling start. A flamboyant hitter of the cricket ball, with the wits and mind for the match, he barely resembles a rookie. Be it spin or pace, yorker or googly, he could bowl any ball outside the boundary. His signing this year was the result of KKR’s thorough scouting in last season’s Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy. According to a KKR functionary, it was the head coach Brendon McCullumThe decision to include him in the playing XI, as the IPL was shifted to the United Arab Emirates. Iyer needed reassurance – some experienced coach Chandrakant Pandit introduced him by making him a southpaw for Madhya Pradesh. Similarly, McCullum and Eoin Morgan assured that they would not have to look over their shoulders, resulting in Iyer playing fearless cricket and scoring some valuable runs in his uncompromising style. If the signs are to be believed, this could be the beginning of a special alliance.
Age – 22, Matches – 16, Runs – 427
When in the 2018 auction, KKR paid Rs 1.8 crore to buy this young player from Punjab. But they may have signed the country’s most talented young batsman who has flagged the country’s batting legacy. KKR brought him gautam gambhirreplacement—and that one is proving to be. In the words of the franchise’s CEO Venky Mysore, they needed someone who could deliver the tenacity and aggression at the top. The latter value he brought in tons, although consistency was not his specialty. But once he was given a certain role, as an opener, he went on to work, becoming both reliable and aggressive. He still has self-destructive tendencies – Gill was inconsistent at the start of the season, but the KKR management didn’t lose faith in him – but it is only a matter of time before KKR becomes the batting leader.
Age – 30, Matches – 16, Runs – 395
The star man after playing Javed Miandad in the playoffs, Tripathi loves to hit sixes – he hit six sixes in an over on two occasions in local cricket – apart from solving math puzzles. Steve Smith Played a part in their development, boosting them up the order, captaining the now-defunct Rising Pune Supergiant in 2017 before KKR signed him in the 2020 auction. Many times people have thought about their role and utility, but not now. The big brother in the pack, the resilience is the hallmark of Tripathi, his ability to bat in any position and turn his game into such a crucial position for KKR for this period. He could open or bat in the middle order, thrust in the power-play or provide ballast at death. He gives KKR tactical flexibility, and let’s not forget the runs he could have prevented and the difficult catches he could.
Age – 27, Matches – 16, Runs – 383
Rana, a destructive player of spin bowling and medium pace, was afraid of excessive pace. But despite knowing this vulnerability of Rana, KKR bought him in 2018. The franchise knew it had someone in its set-up to provide the necessary course corrections. Rana needed to be fearless and KKR team motivator Mike Horn worked his magic. “When I was young, I was intimidated by speed. When I personally met him (Horn) and attended his lectures, I realized that he was not afraid of failures, he only knows how to achieve (from him). I tried to imbibe this quality from him,” Rana had told kkr.in two years ago. Now, Rana is one of the unstoppable players in the team and has played some important innings in the last few years. Given his spin-bowling wealth, his use of off-spin has diminished, but he has a habit of breaking partnerships.
Age – 22, Match – 8, Wicket – 10
One of India’s fastest and fastest bowlers, Mavi enjoyed his best season so far in his three years with KKR. Injuries had consumed most of his last two years after being snapped for Rs 3 crore in 2018 but fit and furious, he kept his promise this season, bowling fast, edging up the batsmen with pace and bounce. . He also bowled with a lot of discipline – maintaining an economy rate of 7.13, steadily declining from 8.15 and 9.64 over the past few seasons. His average had dropped from 54 to 24 and now 20. He has added more strings to his bow, like the slower ball and off-cutter, besides enhancing his sharpness. Despite their injuries, Mysore had said that the franchise was ready to play the waiting game and it was not wrong. While still in its early stages, he could be a real force in the future.
Age – 21, Match – 1, Wicket – 0
With huge money in his bowling department, he hardly got a game this season. But they have the age to justify the price tag of Rs 3.2 crore in the 2018 auction. Like Mavi, he was crippled by injuries in his first two seasons but has been working hard in the nets. There is a video on KKR Insta, in which he is seen almost breaking Dinesh KarthikToes with a diabolical yorker near Karthik on the ground. He still has serious pace, with a dashing action, and with a little more refinement and grooming, he can grow into a prolific bowler for both club and country. Seam-friendly pitches at Eden Gardens played a part in quickening the two tears and if normality returns next year, Nagarkoti and Mavi could be a difficult pair to handle on the home patch.