Andre Russell has been a huge player for Kolkata Knight Riders since joining the Shah Rukh Khan-owned side, Kolkata Knight Riders in 2014. But, KKR will be missing the player big time in IPL 2017 as he has been handed one year ban for doping violation.
Now, the KKR thinktank have a huge problem on their hands. With no Russell for IPL, there is a serious need for them to get back to their drawing board and look for his replacement. They have been rueing the fact that they released two decent all-rounders in the form of Jason Holder and Colin Munro for IPL 2017.
They should forget about such things and move ahead, and look at best possible replacements for Russell during the IPL 2017 auctions. Here are some options for Kolkata Knight Riders.
This is the best like-for-like replacement KKR can get, but the franchise will also be fully aware that he is one of the most sought after players in the auction. Teams like Rising Pune Supergiants and Gujarat Lions have already showcased their interest on the player, and one is expecting a bidding war for the all-rounder. If KKR will go all out and outbid other teams for Stokes, KKR fans will be pleased to see one of the best all-rounders in world cricket play for them.
The Sri Lankan, when on song, can be more than handful with both the bat and ball. The Rising Pune Supergiants released the player for IPL 2017, and KKR should look at this option closely, as he may not cost as much as Stokes. He has been involved with the IPL for some time. Perera has represented Chennai Super Kings, Kochi Tuskers Kerala, Mumbai Indians, Sunrisers Hyderabad and Kings XI Punjab as well. He has scored 422 runs and taken 31 wickets in 37 IPL matches. Such experience will come in handy for KKR.
The New Zealand star will also be on the radar of some top teams as the left-hander is a brilliant hitter of a cricket ball, like Russell. Though bowling-wise, Anderson may not be that special, he can definitely be looked upon as a great alternative. The New Zealand star may not bowl quick deliveries, but his medium pace bowling with good variation could do the job for KKR. Anderson featured for Mumbai Indians in the past.
This is an out of the box replacement for KKR, which they can still look for. If they can buy some quality batsmen in the IPL auction, this option of buying pacer Johnson, who can also use his willow a bit, looks good. The Australian may have retired from international cricket, but his recent performance in the Big Bash was brilliant, taking 13 wickets.