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Predicting Kolkata Knight Riders' XI after the 2022 IPL auction

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25th December, 2021

The Kolkata Knight Riders, along with Delhi, have made the maximum number of retentions.

That is because like Delhi and Chennai (and perhaps even Mumbai), they have had a stable core that led to the finals last season.

They have figured out their team formula and will hope to retain it in terms of player qualities.

1. Venkatesh Iyer
Venkatesh Iyer was a bit of a revelation last season. Apparently Ricky Ponting saw him in the nets in the first half of the season and asked why he was not in the field to Brendon McCullum.

He is handy with both the bat and ball. He managed to get an India debut simply with the latter half of an IPL season. Kolkata Knight Riders have installed their faith in him by retaining him over Shubman Gill.

Alternatives: N/A as he was retained

Generic white cricket ball

(Photo by Speed Media/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

2. Jason Roy
There is a good argument to think Shubman Gill might be bought back by Kolkata Knight Riders, but despite his desires the likelihood of him being bought back is low considering a lot of teams would have Gill’s inclusion more in demand (particularly the Sunrisers and Delhi Capitals).


In the case where they fail to purchase Shubman Gill, they will then want a foreign opener who can be explosive and maximise the dew at Eden Gardens.

Jason Roy performed well for the limited opportunities he got for the Sunrisers, but should he get into Kolkata Knight Riders as a first-choice opener, he is likely to win a couple of games for the Kolkata Knight Riders by himself.

Alternatives: Shubman Gill and Alex Hales

3. Ambati Rayudu
In a role traditionally filled by Rahul Tripathi, who also would be difficult to purchase back, they would want someone who is both experienced and reliable in the mould of Rayudu.

Despite the India selection debacle and retirement after the 3D saga, he seemed to have done well after his comeback for the Chennai Super Kings. His style of play and experience in Mumbai and Chennai is also applicable to Kolkata’s conditions.

Alternatives: Rahul Tripathi and Priyam Garg


4. Nitesh Rana
Nitesh Rana is another player who has been in the core for Kolkata Knight Riders for years now.

He has won games for Kolkata Knight Riders and he has provided them with that critical Indian domestic batting support that all IPL teams eventually do need.

Nitesh Rana will be contested heavily in the auction but he is the most likely to be won back by Kolkata Knight Riders.

Alternatives: Suresh Raina and Abhishek Sharma

5. Andre Russell
When Russell gets going, the going gets tough for any side he plays against. One particular game that comes to mind was when Kolkata Knight Riders were at 5-153 at 17 overs against Royal Challengers Bangalore and needed 206 to win and they managed to achieve that with an over to spare.

The 2015 and 2019 MVP is a no brainer of a retention and Kolkata Knight Riders would want to bat him higher up simply because he can do more damage to bowling sides.

Alternatives: N/A as he was retained

Andre Russell in a press conference

(Photo by Debajyoti Chakraborty/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

6. Dinesh Karthik (wicketkeeper)
Dinesh Karthik has always been a bit of an engima when it comes to T20I cricket, at times he can be the best finisher in the world (just ask Bangladesh in the Nidhadhas trophy final) and other times he is best commentating rather than being in the squad.

Nonetheless, Karthik has been a critical part of the Kolkata Knight Riders over the past few years and has provided support to local Indian players being the channel between them and Eoin Morgan.

His simple presence can be calming and when he does hit the ball, the opposition will want to avoid death bowling to him. Therefore, him being bought back is a realistic possibility and likely given his experience with the Kolkata Knight Riders.

Alternatives: Narayan Jagadeesan and Matthew Wade

7. Sunil Narine
Sunil Narine was dwindling with the bat and the bowl in the 2020 season that his inclusion in the 2021 squad simply seemed unlikely.

Then somehow the Sunil Narine of the old came back, despite the action issues, and his selection was therefore justified.


Alternatives: N/A as he was retained

8. Pat Cummins (captain)
As Pat Cummins takes over the Australian Test captaincy, and with Aaron Finch now north of 35, he will soon be given more white-ball responsibilities.

Kolkata Knight Riders can experiment with Cummins as a potential captaincy option, though his performances with the ball were somewhat mediocre in the games he did play (although he did almost beat Chennai Super Kings with the bat).

Alternatives: Jason Holder and Chris Woakes

Pat Cummins

(Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images)

9. Prasidh Krishna
Prasidh Krishna’s ranks went up as he joined Kolkata Knight Riders to an extent where he is a regular consideration to India’s sides.

Now experienced in the interntaional arena, he will be in demand and because he is a Kolkata Knight Riders talent scout product, they will make an effort to bring him back.


Alternatives: Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammed Shami

10. Piyush Chawla
With an abdunace of seaming options (with Iyer, Russell and two other pacers), one of the stronger points of Kolkata Knight Riders has always been their spinning options.

An experienced spinner like Piyush Chawla might find his way back to the Kolkata Knight Riders XI and provide support to Narine and Varun to make the Kolkata Knight Riders’ bowling attack one of the best in the tournament.

Alternatives: Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzi Chahal

11. Varun Chakravarthy
The mystery spinner took the most wickets in the last season for Kolkata Knight Riders and was instrumental in their march to the final.

He will have far more experience by the next season and will become an even more potent bowler.

Alternatives: N/A as he was retained