As we come closer to IPL 2021, we have brought in an in-depth SWOT analysis of Kolkata Knight Riders. The Shah Rukh Khan owned KKR has had a journey full of ups and downs. While they were the winners of the tournament back in 2012 and 2014, they have had a lackluster outing in the recent times. If you want to do a refresher and read our in-depth analysis of other IPL franchises, you can do so here:
This year the team will be excited to join the coveted club of teams with 3 or more than 3 IPL titles to their names. So far only Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings have been able to achieve the feat. KKR have come close, but right when it matters, the team has choked and have been thrown out of the tournament.
Let’s look at the complete squad of the team, and do an in-depth SWOT analysis:
IPL 2021 Kolkata Knight Riders Squad:
Eoin Morgan (c), Dinesh Karthik, Shubman Gill, Nitish Rana, Tim Seifert, Rinku Singh, Andre Russell, Sunil Narine, Kuldeep Yadav, Shivam Mavi, Lockie Ferguson, Pat Cummins, Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Sandeep Warrier, Prasidh Krishna, Rahul Tripathi, Varun Chakravarthy, Shakib Al Hasan, Sheldon Jackson, Vaibhav Arora, Harbhajan Singh, Karun Nair, Ben Cutting, Venkatesh Iyer and Pawan Negi.
IPL 2021 Kolkata Knight Riders Strength: Skipper Eoin Morgan’s expertise, Power Hitters
Although the team would miss the likes of Yusuf Pathan, Brendan Mckullam and Robin Uthappa, they still have a lot of firepower when it comes to throwing arms and putting the ball away. The team boasts bombastic batsmen like Andre Russell, Sunil Narine, Ben Cutting, skipper Eoin Morgan. These mighty players are backed by some equally talented players like Nitish Rana and Dinesh Karthik who are all match-winners in their own rights.
We only touched on Eoin Morgan briefly because Morgan’s prowess in batting is overshadowed by his talent at leading a side. A god-sent for England cricket, he led his team to the summit of the ICC T20 Team Rankings. Not to mention, Morgan was also the architect of England’s victory over New Zealand in the ODI World Cup, 2019. All of these accomplishments just go on to prove that Eon Morgan can lead KKR towards the finale and end the team’s championship drought.
IPL 2021 Kolkata Knight Riders Weakness: A weak bowling department
Once upon a time in a land far, far away, KKR had the likes of Ishant Sharma, Brett Lee, Jacques Kallis, Mitchell Johnson who took wickets at crucial times and took their team to the edge of victory. However, due to surprising decisions from the team administration, the team over the years kept bagging uncapped Indian players for their bowling department. For the 2021 IPL edition, the franchise lacks the lethal edge a good bowling department comes with.
When it comes to spin department, the team has retained Kuldeep Yadav, who is at the worst phase of his cricket career. In ODIS and T20s, the off-spinner has been given ample opportunities by the selectors, but has failed to come through. Even Sunil Narine, who was one of the architects of KKR’s victory back when Gautam Gambhir won the captain’s cap, is struggling. However, with all said, Shakib Al Hasan can be the ace in the hole for KKR that can shine through. It remains to be seen whether that happens, so far, the analysis suggests that the team’s bowling department could be its Achilles heel in IPL 2021.
IPL 2021 Kolkata Knight Riders Opportunities: Room for Harbhajan Singh to shock and awe
Previously a jewel in the Mumbai Indians’ strong line up, Harbhajan Singh was picked up at his base price of Rs. 2 crores by KKR in the auction this year. Millenials remember Harbhajan as the ODI and Test spin expert who was called at the time of need and delivered by bowling out set batsmen. This year, the now-retired from International cricket spinner will have the opportunity to awe and inspire a generation of prospective Indian bowlers. Over the course of his IPL journey, he has bagged 150 wickets, and more importantly has an economy rate of 7.05 only.
IPL 2021 Kolkata Knight Riders Threats: Sunil Narine’s form
Sunil Narine has been with the KKR since the last 9 years. The off-spinner from West Indies made his debut in 2012 and was bagged by KKR the same year. It was quite a year for Narine as he went on to win the player of the tournament that year. The not-so-young Trinidadian also won the same in 2018. However, since then he has been floundering and slipping. His inconsistency has been owed to his bowling action. He was also under IPL’s scrutiny for the same and after some remedial work he was cleared by the tournament administration. However, with the new bowling action, Narine has had an inconsistent outing. In 2020, the bowler was put to test in 10 matches and could only take 5 wickets. When it came to batting, he could not deliver in that department as well and could only score a paltry 121 runs.