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Indian T20 League 2024: Kolkata Eye Success With Revamped Squad

By Real11 - Mar 19 2024 173 Views
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Kolkata's SWOT Analysis For Indian T20 League 2024

The Kolkata franchise in the 2024 edition of the Indian T20 League seems to be like an iceberg under the water with most of it unexposed. The only Eastern franchise has won the league title two times in 2012 and 2014 respectively. The SRK-owned franchise this time is hoped to make things work out after several years of wilderness. The 2021 finalists have seemed to be out of form for the last five seasons. However, we agree that they have a dynamic squad with potential players with diverse abilities in their respective fields.

The Knights went all-in during the mini-auction in December when they broke all records to sign Aussie pacer Mitchell Starc, who was the most expensive buy in the history of the league. Before this, the franchise drew in their former skipper Gautam Gambhir as the team’s mentor. It was long believed that the two-time champion skipper would be of massive help to the drowning franchise. Kolkata’s skipper Shreyas Iyer missed the entire 2023 season of the Indian T20 League and will miss the initial matches of this season too due to a slight injury. His presence in this league edition would fill a huge gap in the middle order for the franchise.

The Knights’ Guild have a core set of players who round up to become compact and strong in recent times. The fans will be counting on consistent performances which have been quite sensed from them in recent years. If Kolkata wants to seal their playoff spot once again, all of their players need to play as a unified force. 

Ahead of this season, we offer a precise report of the Eastern Giants. 

 

Kolkata’s Squad for the Indian T20 League 2024:

Shreyas Iyer (c), Nitish Rana, Rinku Singh, Rahmanullah Gurbaz (wk), Sunil Narine, Jason Roy, Suyash Sharma, Anukul Roy, Andre Russell, Venkatesh Iyer, Harshit Rana, Vaibhav Arora, Varun Chakravarthy, KS Bharat (wk), Chetan Sakariya, Mitchell Starc, Angkrish Raghuvanshi, Ramandeep Singh, Sherfane Rutherford, Manish Pandey, Mujeeb Rahman, Dushmantha Chameera, and Sakib Hussain.

 

Strengths

Kolkata’s bowling this season is strong and well-balanced. Their side avoided multiple bowlers in the auction and opted to add a new look to their bowling side. The Purple Army has young promising throwers like Chetan Sakariya, who has shown signs of significant development in recent years. Bowlers like Harshit Rana and Vaibhav Arora have also exhibited promising efforts and that is what could be more helpful for the side in the long run. Dushmantha Chameera brings in a handful of experience replacing Gus Atkinson. Lastly, Caribbean all-rounders Andre Russell and Shrefane Rutherford can chip in as steel hands with power-packed finishing capabilities and bowling crucial conditions.

Spin has been Kolkata’s primary weapon for years and they undoubtedly have one of the best spin units in the Indian league. With the presence of their ‘OG’ spinner Sunil Narine along with the services of Varun Chakravarthy and Suyash Sharma we expect a diverse spin of web around the batters. Anukul Roy is also one such player who performed well in the domestic circuit and has a good chance to prove his skills in the greatest cricket league in the world. Along with them, Afghanistan’s Mujeeb ur Rahman is also expected to come in handy in needful situations.

In the batting department, Kolkata has two of the best finishers, Rinku Singh and Andre Russell. Rinku has proved his aggressive gameplay in recent times with the Indian Cricket Team. Russell is a Caribbean legend who has long proved his capabilities in world cricket which gives the Purple side an edge in the death overs. 

Iyer’s return to the side should be a massive thing as his presence will lift the morale of the side. In the absence of Shreyas Iyer, Nitish Rana led the team last season and has proved that he can keep the scoreboard moving. Also, the Eastern sides have two seasoned openers, Jason Roy and Rahmanullah Gurbaz. 

 

Weaknesses

Kolkata also has a lot of weaknesses. First of all, they are now overdependant on Mitchell Starc as their only experienced fast-bowling option. Pressure will be on Chetan Sakariya who will have to prove his skills once again to lift off some pressure from Starc’s back. Rana is highly inexperienced and Vaibhav has some decent play in the Ranji Trophy 2024 for Himachal Pradesh. 

Although there is Russell who has always been the backbone in difficult situations, Starc is now in for some good show for the Purples. The worry is with Narine, although the Caribbean mystery spinner has been economical but hasn’t taken many wickets in the past. If Narine goes wicketless this season, the pressure will surely fall on the rest. 

Kolkata has mediocre bench strength, with players like Manish Pandey and KS Bharat, they lack any further firepower in this set. 

The two-time champions will also face difficulties in their batting front. The sturdy combination of Roy and Gurbaz will be foreign batting stars, but as we know with foreign players like Russell, Narine and Starc also on the list, one will miss out on the Playing XI. 

 

Impact Players

This new rule was introduced before the 2023 season of the Indian T2o League, one team can name five substitute players and use one of them when needed. If four foreign players are already announced in the Playing XI, the impact player rule states that the substitute coming in can only be an Indian. So Kolkata will have possible options namely Suyash Sharma, Anukul Roy, Harshit Rana, Vaibhav Arora, and KS Bharat as Impact Players.

 

Kolkata’s Probable Playing XI

Rahmanullah Gurbaz (wk), Venkatesh Iyer, Manish Pandey, Nitish Rana, Shreyas Iyer (c), Rinku Singh, Andre Russell, Sunil Narine, Mitchell Starc, Varun Chakravarthy, Chetan Sakariya.

 

Players To Keep An Eye On

Rinku Singh: Rinku has a strike rate of 190.60 in the last four overs (16-20) and an average of 38.33 in the Indian T20 League. He also struck 26 fours and 25 sixes during his cricketing career.

Mitchell Starc: The left-arm pacer has 48 wickets under his belt in the power play overs at 27.29 and an economy rate of 6.55 in the 20-over format of the game.

 

Knights' to Finish in Top Four This Season:

Kolkata have the potential to finish in the top four places and also have their hands on the coveted title this time after a long wait. They have plenty of options, with quality players in the batting, all-round and bowling departments. Gambhir needs to play the key role to take the Best XI out of the Knights’ squad. Rhythm and consistency will play a key role in success. One place where they lack is their pace bowling and they need to cut through it if they want to shine this season. 

The Indian T20 League committee has announced the schedule of the first 21 matches. The remaining fixtures will be declared in due course. 

 

Kolkata's Schedule for Indian T20 League 2024:

March 23 – Kolkata vs Hyderabad, Eden Gardens, Kolkata (7:30 PM IST)

March 29 – Bangalore vs Kolkata, M. Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bengaluru (7:30 PM IST)

April 03 – Delhi vs Kolkata, ACA-VDCA Cricket Stadium, Visakhapatnam (7:30 PM IST)

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