KKR failed to make the playoffs in the last edition and will be looking to make amends this time. Although the management has retained the core team, they still have some issues to address. The most important would be to handle the powerplay (first 6 overs).
While KKR managed to take only 13 wickets in the powerplay in 2020, they were also the slowest-scoring side, recording a run-rate of 7.11 in the first six overs.
With West Indian Sunil Narine failing to fire at the top, they should go for an opener who can attack, with Shubman Gill holding fort at the other end. In that respect, Australian Alex Hales (top run-getter in this Big Bash League), England’s Jason Roy or even experienced Aaron Finch could come into the picture.
They might also want to add some variation in the attack by adding a left-arm pacer. KKR, who failed to grab Mustafizur Rahman last time as a replacement after Bangladesh Cricket Board did not issue a no-objection certificate, might try to get him this time.
Another Bangladeshi, Shakib Al Hasan, could be on their radar. The all-rounder has played for KKR earlier and can make useful contributions both with the bat and ball. His presence will boost the side’s attack too, given that Kuldeep Yadav is off-colour.
But in case the Bangladesh players are not available for the full tournament, KKR can opt for Australian left-arm hit-the-deck bowler Jason Behrendorff or all-rounder Daniel Christian.
The team’s pace attack also lacks a domestic experienced hand and they might try to get Umesh Yadav back.
It would be better to keep a backup wicketkeeper-batsman option for Dinesh Karthik, and Kerala’s Mohammed Azharuddeen fits the bill well. The 26-year-old, who smashed a 37-ball century in Syed Mushtaq Ali meet, can also open the innings for them.
KKR might also strengthen their middle-order by including Shahrukh Khan, who will definitely get backing from his state side skipper Karthik.
The former KKR skipper too spoke highly about Khan, who played the finisher’s role well in helping Tamil Nadu win the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy.