3 Players KKR can target in next year's IPL Auction

KKR spent almost 39% of the total purse value on buying their new captain, Shreyas Iyer.

KANNAN NAIR

Freelancer Writer

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Published - Oct 31, 2022, 17:29 IST | Updated - May 18, 2022, 18:14 IST

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The two-time IPL champions, Kolkata Knight Riders, haven’t been quite riding on their form from the last edition, where they reached the finals. The tournament isn’t going as per plan when you have to bench two of the four retained players. KKR was one of the teams, along with Mumbai Indians, that didn’t have a great mega auction. The Knight Riders couldn’t raise the auction paddle long enough for other deserving players as their hands were tied after they spent a whopping 12.25 crores, almost 39% of the total purse value, on buying their new captain, Shreyas Iyer. And that is where they missed a trick or two, which is also reflected in their performance as they are placed in the bottom half of the points table.

As the greats of the game say, 50% of the IPL is won at the auction table, where you identify the gaps in your team and bid for the players who can fill those voids and play as per their designated roles. As we head towards the business end of the Tata IPL 2022, many teams, and especially KKR, would have identified their vulnerable areas and who would be their mitochondria, which could be the powerhouse of the team in the coming seasons. A testimony to KKR’s problems has been the fact that out of the maximum quota of 25 players, 20 of them have played in 12 games. There has not been a single game, where Kolkata played with an unchanged eleven, making the outfit look completely unsettled.

However, there are three players, that KKR can target in the next auction to bridge the gaps in the current squad:

1. Ben McDermott

Ben McDermott. (Photo by Steve Bell/Getty Images)

One of the major problems for KKR has been their opening partnership, where they have experimented with six different combinations only to change them after a few bad games. Apart from missing a fiery opener who can go all guns blazing in the powerplay overs, they also do not have a proper firepower wicket-keeper batter in their squad. KKR have tried three different keepers in the 12 games that they have played. Starting with Sheldon Jackson, then Sam Billings, to their latest experiment, Baba Aparajith. To solve this, the hard-hitting Australian wicket-keeper batter, Ben McDermott, could be a perfect fit for KKR.

As the famous saying in Hindi goes, “Ek teer se do nishane”, which roughly translates to, “targeting two solutions with one arrow”. With his massive six-hitting ability in the powerplay overs, Ben McDermott can walk into any playing eleven. Moreover, Ben can also don the gloves behind the wicket for the KKR. McDermott has played 74 matches in the Big Bash League, scoring 2139 runs at an average of 36.88. More than the average, what has grabbed the attention of the cricket pundits is his strike rate of 138.9. In the BBL 2021, Ben McDermott came to the limelight when he scored back-to-back match-winning centuries. One of them came chasing a total of 175 against the Adelaide strikers.

Ben was in red-hot form, scoring three fifties and two centuries. He was the highest run-getter in BBL21, which earned him a maiden call-up for the Australian squad. Such a clean striker of the cricket ball would have been a perfect opener and keeper for KKR, as they have been struggling to get consistent scores from their openers in the 15th edition of the Tata IPL. McDermott, along with Venky, could be the perfect left-right combination for KKR to dominate in 2023.

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