Kolkata Knight Riders, Gautam Gambhir, IPl 2017, IPL, KKR team preview
Gautam Gambhir.IANS

The Kolkata Knight Riders have been a successful unit in the past, winning the IPL title in 2012 and 2014. After failing to reach the Playoffs in 2015, and exiting the competition the following year in the Playoffs, they will aim to go all the way in IPL 2017.

The Gautam Gambhir-led side have bolstered their bowling line-up, but they will still depend on some of their Indian batsmen to score some big runs.  

If their big names like Pathan, Gambhir, Trent Boult, Umesh Yadav and youngsters such as Kuldeep Yadav fire, the KKR could well be on their way for their third title.

Here is a look at the entire KKR squad, their auctions buys, and prediction for the IPL 2017 season.

How did last season go?

KKR started IPL 2016 on a good note, winning four of their first five matches, but they could not continue their form in the latter part of the competition. They somehow managed to reach the Playoffs, but failed to reach the finals.

It was a season, where they promised so much in the early stages, but had nothing to show for their efforts when it mattered most in the Playoffs.

Who are the new players coming in? Any interesting buys during the IPL Player Auction?

The KKR were one of the busiest teams in the auction, buying as many as nine players. They threw money, primarily on fast bowlers including Trent Boult, Chris Woakes and Nathan Coulter-Nile. Along with Umesh Yadav, these bowlers can form a deadly combination where there is something for the fast bowlers in the 22-yard surface. 

Chris Woakes, England, IPL 2017,Kolkata Knight Riders.
Chris Woakes.Reuters

Boult could be their trump card in IPL 2017 as he has the pace to outdo any batsmen in the league.

Two West Indians, Rovman Powell and Darren Bravo are an interesting pick. Powell is touted as Jr. Andre Russell. 

Rishi Dhawan, Sayan Ghosh, Sanjay Yadav and Ishank Jaggi were their other picks.

What about overseas players from last season? Who stands out and must perform?

They did not retain many of their overseas players from last season. However, Sunil Narine, Shakib Al Hasan and Chris Lynn were kept back by the franchise.

Narine is once again going to be an important player for KKR as he can bowl up front, and take wickets. All-rounder Shakib did not have a great season in 2016, but the KKR will look forward to his contribution from both the bat and ball, especially after Andre Russell's one-year ban.

Sunil Narine,  KKR, IPL 2017, IPL cricket
Sunil Narine.IANS

Chris Lynn is one player, who has not been able to translate his Big Bash success to the IPL. This could be his last IPL season for KKR if the aggressive batsman fails to score big runs in IPL 2017.

And the Indian players?

KKR is one of the teams in the IPL, which has a strong India contingent, and they depend on them too, especially in the batting front.

Gambhir and Robin Uthappa are solid openers for KKR, and with Manish Pandey, Suryakumar Yadav and Yusuf Pathan to follow, their batting looks mighty strong. 

Umesh, who might miss early stages of IPL 2017, will be key after he comes back, but with spinners like Piyush Chawla and Kuldeep, they will be a huge threat. The Indian players' performance could play an important role as to where they finish in IPL 2017.

What does the squad look like?

Decent batsmen, good spinners and quality fast bowlers

Indians: Gautam Gambhir, Kuldeep Yadav, Manish Pandey, Suryakumar Yadav, Piyush Chawla, Robin Uthappa, Umesh Yadav, Yusuf Pathan, Sheldon Jackson, Ankit Singh Rajpoot, Rishi Dhawan, Sayan Ghosh, R Sanjay Yadav, Ishank Jaggi

Overseas: Sunil Narine, Shakib Al Hasan, Chris Lynn, Trent Boult, Chris Woakes, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Darren Bravo, Rovman Powell

When in their opening match?

Kolkata Knight Riders will start their IPL 2017 campaign against Gujarat Lions at Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium on Friday, April 7.

What to expect?

They have the squad strength, which should see them progress into the Playoffs stage, but they cannot depend on a single player. All the players in the squad need to deliver for them to have a good season. 

Getting into the Playoffs will be their minimum aim, and from there on, they will have to play even better cricket in the crucial stage.