Proven team, proven performers – these four words perfectly sum up Kolkata Knight Riders’ journey since they won their first ever IPL Trophy in 2011. For the first three seasons, the team had a lot of big names but unfortunately they failed to perform as a unit. (IPL 2016: Gautam Gambhir, Morne Morkel Hit Ground Running For Kolkata Knight Riders)
Since then, it has been a different story altogether. Under the leadership of Gautam Gambhir, the team bears a good look of experience and youth. They may definitely not have star power that teams like Royal Challengers Bangalore and Rising Pune Supergiants possess, but Kolkata Knight Riders surely have plenty of utility cricketers in their armory. (IPL 2016: Pop Star Chris Brown, Katrina Kaif, Ranveer Singh to Perform at Opening Ceremony)
This time around too they haven’t made many changes to their squad and the core (Gautam Gambhir, Robin Uthappa, Manish Pandey, Shakib Al Hasan and Andre Russell) remains the same. The addition of Colin Munro and John Hastings look to be an icing on the cake for them.
The bowling department, particularly the fast-bowling division, has been strengthened with the addition two young Indian seam bowlers, Ankit Rajpoot being one of them.
The New Members in Kolkata Knight Riders:
Colin Munro, who represented Mumbai Indians last season, was bought for 30 lakhs.
John Hastings, the burly Australian all-rounder, who was a part of Chennai Super Kings in the earlier seasons, was bought for 1.3 crores.
Jaydev Unadkat, who had earlier represented KKR, RCB and DD, was again bought by the Shah Rukh Khan co-owned team for 1.6 crores.
Ankit Rajpoot, the young fast-bowler from UP who had also represented CSK, was bought for 1.5 crores.
As for the other names, West Indies captain and all-rounder Jason Holder was bought for 70 lakhs, R Satish, (former MI and KXIP player) for 20 lakhs and Manan Sharma for 10 lakhs.
Kolkata Knight Riders Coaching Staff:
Jacques Kallis replaced Trevor Bayliss as the head coach for KKR this season as the latter will continue his duty as England head coach. The team will also have the services of Simon Katich as the assistant coach, Wasim Akram as the bowling coach and mentor and W.V. Raman as the batting advisor.
Kolkata Knight Riders Past Record:
2008: League stage
2009: League stage
2010: League stage
2013: League stage
2015: League stage
Kolkata Knight Riders Team Potential:
Going into the tournament, the biggest advantage that KKR have over the other teams is a settled line-up. Barring injuries, it is unlikely that Gambhir will tinker with the playing eleven. Shakib Al-Hasan, Andre Russell, John Hastings and Morne Morkel are most likely to be the four overseas players.
One thing that would be a cause of concern is the poor form of Gambhir with the bat. When it comes to captaincy, there are no doubts about his credentials but Gambhir needs to justify his place in the team with his runs first.