A team that does not have many superstars in their ranks but can go on to win the league — Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR), which is one of the most popular franchises of the IPL. This team has impressed over the last few years in the IPL and here, they are again to take on the best in the business, ready to regain their glory in the IPL 2016.
They missed out on a place in the IPL 2015 qualifiers by a whisker and in this season, KKR skipper Gautam Gambhir will not want to repeat the same mistake they committed in the previous season of the IPL.
Gambhir has plethora of talented T20 cricketers
Let us take a closer look at the squad of the two-time IPL champions KKR:
Batsmen: We saw it in the last two seasons of the IPL that Gambhir and Uthappa can cause some serious damage at the top of the order. They were responsible for a number of good starts to their innings. They will look to repeat the same for KKR in the IPL 2016. They will followed by Manish Pandey, who is a naturally attacking batsman. He is one of those kinds who can accelerate during the middle overs as well. Thus, his presence at the crucial No. 3 slot will be vital for KKR in IPL 2016. Then they will be followed by some huge hitters like Chris Lynn, who lit up the Big Bash League earlier this year with his incredible hitting and Colin Munro. Munro is pretty underrated a batsman. Looking at his prowess with the bat, KKR bought him at a base price of just Rs. 30 lakh. Suryakumar Yadav is also a brilliant acquisition when it comes to T20 cricket. The management retained him after his batting heroics in the last couple of season.
All-rounders: These names are extremely dangerous - Yusuf Pathan, Shakib Al Hasan, and Andre Russell. They can turn the game in KKR's favour almost single-handedly. We have seen it in the past how Russell won so many matches for KKR. The fans are yet to forget that innings of 72 runs from 24 balls by Yusuf Pathan to steer KKR into the qualifiers in IPL 2014. And in that season, KKR went on to win the IPL for the second time since its inception.
Wicket-keepers: Uthappa will be bestowed with the duty of guarding the stumps. In case there is an injury concern, yet another talented youngster Sheldon Jackson is present in their ranks to replace Uthappa.
Bowlers: They have always been considered as a team that has one of the best bowling attack in the IPL. Sunil Narine, Umesh Yadav, Morne Morkel, Shakib, Brad Hogg, Piyush Chawla and Russell - these are all seasoned campaigners and most of them are match-winners, especially Narine. His four overs have won KKR so many matches in the past and he will look to emulate similar performances for this Shah Rukh Khan co-owned franchise in the IPL 2016 as well.
Looking at the squad, even a cricket expert will find it difficult to pick the best XI players for the IPL 2016. In that case, Gambhir, coach Jacques Kallis and assistant coach Simon Katich will have a tough time in choosing the playing XI.
Gambhir is someone who does not like to change things much. Once they gets the right combination, Gambhir & co. have the potential to go all the way and lift the coveted IPL trophy for a record third time. KKR is definitely going to be a team to watch out for in the IPL.
Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) complete squad for IPL 2016: Gautam Gambhir (C), Kuldeep Yadav, Manish Pandey, Piyush Chawla, Robin Uthappa (wk), Sheldon Jackson, Suryakumar Yadav, Umesh Yadav, Yusuf Pathan, Sunil Narine, Andre Russell, Brad Hogg, Chris Lynn, Morne Morkel, Shakib Al Hasan, Jaydev Unadkat, Ankit Singh Rajpoot, John Hastings, Jason Holder, Colin Munro, Rajgopal Sathish, Manan Ajay Sharma.