Mon. Oct 2nd, 2023

The Kolkata Knight Riders‘ (KKR) participation in the 2023 Indian Premier League (IPL) auction will be keenly watched.
With only ₹7.05 crore in their purse, the Knight Riders will need to make smart decisions if they want to fill the myriad of holes on their roster. KKR need at least 18 players to make up their squad, with wisdom dictating that all 25 spots need to be filled, and they have only 14 right now.
The two-time champions’ expensive trades have seemingly thrown a spanner in their works. Here are three concerns for KKR ahead of the IPL 2023 auction.
This is something that has plagued KKR for quite a few years now. Andre Russell and Sunil Narine have had brief spells of unavailability for various reasons, and they’re such valuable cricketers that the Knight Riders have found it impossible to find adequate like-for-like replacements.
In the IPL 2023 auction, the same struggles are bound to resurface. Sikandar Raza, with his Trinbago Knight Riders connection and overall skillset, fits the bill for a Narine backup perfectly. But he won’t come cheap given his exploits over the last two years, and KKR simply don’t have the luxury of spending big money on a player who won’t be part of their first-choice playing XI.
Russell, meanwhile, is practically irreplaceable. The likes of Nathan Coulter-Nile and Jason Holder are probably out of KKR’s reach in the ₹2 crore bracket, while others like David Wiese might also be beyond the realm of possibility.
There are two major holes on the KKR roster – a pace-hitter and a wicket-keeper of the domestic variety. Nitish Rana, Rinku Singh, Sunil Narine, Shreyas Iyer and Venkatesh Iyer are all proficient against spin, but they don’t have the same abilities against pace. Meanwhile, Rahmanullah Gurbaz is the only wicket-keeper on the roster right now.
It won’t be hard for KKR to find an Indian wicket-keeper since plenty of them are up for grabs this year. But will they be able to find one good enough to immediately slot into their playing XI? It’ll be a much harder task to find a talented domestic pace-hitter. Most of them are already established at the international level and won’t come cheap.
How will KKR manage to paper over these two cracks with the meager funds at their disposal? Speaking of which…
KKR only have 14 players on their books right now. IPL rules dictate that each team needs a minimum of 18 players, but common sense dictates that filling the 25-member quota is the best way forward.
With only ₹7.05 crore, how will KKR manage to find enough personnel to mount a title charge? Injuries and other absences have become all too common these days, and all IPL teams need the insurance of a stacked bench they can call upon at a moment’s notice. The Knight Riders have three overseas slots to fill as well.
Trades for Lockie Ferguson and Shardul Thakur, who were on expensive contracts, have eaten into KKR’s budget. Their biggest concern ahead of the IPL 2023 auction is a simple one – getting enough good players to don purple and gold.
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