2-time winners Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) are definitely one of the most popular T20 teams on Earth, not just in the country. Co-owned by Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan, the team has never been short on fanfare with some of their players having already lit up the tournament over the years. Since former opener and current head coach Brendon McCullum kickstarted the inaugural season of the Indian Premier League (IPL) in 2008 with a fiery 158, the team has been one of the most followed T20 franchises in the tournament.
While KKR failed to live up to the expectations created by McCullum’s blazing innings in the initial years, their breakthrough year as a team occurred in the 2011 edition when they revamped their squad heavily appointing Gautam Gambhir as captain to replace the hugely popular Sourav Ganguly. It was the 1st time KKR reached the playoffs of the IPL.
Since then, KKR have emerged as one of the most strong teams in the IPL as they have been helped by a number of great auction strategies assembling some of the best T20 stars in the world. In buying 2 West Indians Andre Russell and Sunil Narine, the KKR squad looks like a team of global T20 mercenaries who are ready to explode on the big stage.
In the 2nd year of Gambhir’s captaincy, KKR finally won their maiden title and went on to repeat the performance in 2014 too. Since then, KKR have reached the playoffs 3 times in 5 seasons while they failed to reach the last-4 in 2019. This makes them the 3rd most successful side in IPL history after Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings who have 4 and 3 titles respectively.
KKR currently have a generous mix of outrageous young talent in Shubman Gill, Varun Chakravarthy, Tom Banton along with the experience of Russell, Narine, Kuldeep Yadav, and Lockie Ferguson.
IPL 2020 Auctions
Kolkata Knight Riders spent the most amount of money on a single player in the first set by getting Australia pacer Pat Cummins (INR 15.5 Crores). The franchise also splurged a whopping INR 5.25 Crores on England superstar Eoin Morgan. While Dinesh Karthik will remain the captain of the side, the addition of Morgan will only boost KKR’s power-batting and tactical nous.
KKR were engaged in a bidding war with defending champions Mumbai Indians and ultimately managed to bag the services of the 2019 World Cup-winning captain for more than two times his base price, which was set at Rs 2 crore. Morgan will be returning to KKR after spending 3 seasons with them from 2011 to 2013.
Here’s a look at the complete KKR squad:
Shubman Gill, Siddesh Lad, Andre Russell, Dinesh Karthik (c & wk), Rinku Singh, Nitish Rana, Sunil Narine, Kuldeep Yadav, Harry Gurney, Lockie Ferguson, Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Shivam Mavi, Prasidh Krishna, Sandeep Warrier, Pat Cummins, Eoin Morgan, Varun Chakravarthy, Tom Banton, Rahul Tripathi, Pravin Tambe, M Siddharth, Chris Green, Nikhil Naik
KKR IPL History:
2008: Knocked out in group stage after finishing 6th out of 8 teams
2009: Knocked out in group stage after finishing last out of 8 teams
2010: Knocked out in group stage after finishing 6th out of 8 teams
2011: Qualified for playoffs eventually finishing in 4th place
2012: IPL Champions
2013: Knocked out in group stage after finishing 7th out of 9 teams
2014: IPL Champions
2015: Knocked out in group stage after finishing 5th out of 8 teams
2016: Qualified for playoffs eventually finishing in 4th place
2017: Qualified for playoffs eventually finishing in 3rd place
2018: Qualified for playoffs eventually finishing in 3rd place
2019: Knocked out in group stage after finishing 5th out of 8 teams
Predictions for IPL 2020
On paper, Kolkata Knight Riders look like a dream T20 team but their overdependence on Russell in recent times has not helped their cause. If the likes of Banton, Morgan and Gill can produce the goods expected of them KKR might prove a hard team to stop in the 13th IPL season.
KKR Coaching Staff:
Head coach – Brendon McCullum
Assistant coach – Abhishek Nayar
Batting coach – David Hussey
Bowling coach – Kyle Mills
Fielding coach – James Foster
Spin bowling coach – Carl Crowe
Physiotherapist – Kamlesh Jain
Strength and conditioning coach – Chris Donaldson
Data and video analyst – AR Srikkanth