Fri. Mar 24th, 2023

Early predictions haven’t had the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) as genuine playoff contenders in the 2023 Indian Premier League (IPL).
The two-time champions have several holes on their roster, with a couple of pricey trades taking a significant chunk out of their budget without really managing to greatly improve the strength of the side.
Nevertheless, the IPL is a competitive league, and KKR could go all the way if they formulate plans well and execute them to perfection. The Knight Riders tried to take a few steps in the right direction on December 23, when the 2023 auction was held in Kochi.
Here are three issues KKR solved in the IPL 2023 auction.
KKR struggled with wicket-keepers in IPL 2022. Sheldon Jackson, Baba Indrajith and Sam Billings were the options they had, and all three won’t turn out for the franchise in the 2023 campaign.
Ahead of the IPL 2023 auction, the Knight Riders traded in Rahmanullah Gurbaz from the Gujarat Titans, but they still needed more reinforcements. They managed to snap up two names: domestic gloveman N Jagadeesan and Bangladesh keeper Litton Das.
While Jagadeesan has been in stellar form for Tamil Nadu in the longer formats, Litton is as destructive as they come on his day. Both batters will plug a major hole in the KKR roster, one they won’t have to worry about as much as they did last year.
KKR have turned to Shakib Al Hasan in the past, and although the all-rounder has never been an undisputed starter in the IPL, he has been a valuable utility player. In IPL 2023, too, he will reprise an important role – that of Sunil Narine’s backup.
Narine has had concerns over his action in the past, as well as a few fitness issues. While he seems to be over the hill with those, the Knight Riders have always needed someone to be a failsafe backup for the dynamic West Indian.
Shakib, who is an economical bowler and a useful top-order batter in T20 cricket, could ease the nerves of the KKR team management. His presence would not only help the franchise in case of injury but also lend a helping hand to the youngsters in the side.
KKR have, quite unsuccessfully, tried to find backups for Andre Russell in the past. The two-time MVP award winner is as irreplaceable as they come in the shortest format, with his destructive hitting, pacy bowling and electric fielding.
Unfortunately, though, Russell is made of glass these days. A stray dive or two in the outfield has kept him out of action for significant periods of time, and he hasn’t been able to bowl as often as he’d have liked either. KKR have always needed a backup for their superstar all-rounder, and IPL 2023 will be no different.
In David Wiese, the Knight Riders may have found the most like-for-like alternative possible. The Namibia star is capable of bowling at the death, with his cutters and smarts. He is also a lethal six-hitter who can finish the innings off with aplomb.
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