The IPL 2022 Mega-Auctions have concluded in Bengaluru. Although they began well in the auctions, Kolkata Knight Riders hit a dead-end after a shortage of funds. In the end, they had to take what was left on the table. Nevertheless, the franchise has managed to set up a decent team for the upcoming season. On that note, in this article, we predict the strongest playing XI for KKR in IPL 2022.
Openers: Venkatesh Iyer and Ajinkya Rahane
Venkatesh Iyer will take a confirmed spot in this department in the strongest playing XI for KKR in IPL 2022. In the UAE phase of IPL 2021, he did well at the top of the order. Since then, he has also gone on to make his debut for Team India. Being a left-hander and someone who can offer a few overs, Iyer will add terrific balance at the top.
KKR will hit the first roadblock in deciding Venkatesh Iyer’s opening partner. It will be a right-hander and the options include the likes of Alex Hales. However, considering they need a quality wicket-keeper, an Indian might have to take this role. Ajinkya Rahane, who was sold at his base price of INR 1 Cr to KKR, would be the best bet. However, his role has to be well-defined. KKR must plan such that Ajinkya Rahane and Shreyas Iyer do not spend a lot of time at the crease together at one time.
Middle-Order: Shreyas Iyer (C), Nitish Rana, Sam Billings (WK) and Rinku Singh
Shreyas Iyer, KKR’s biggest purchase at the auctions, will captain the squad. The No.3 role is likely to be best suited to him. Iyer might be tasked with anchoring the batting innings. He will be joined in the middle-order by Nitish Rana. The only problem, though, will be that both these players have weaknesses against pace. Hence, using Sunil Narine as a floater might solve the issue to an extent.
Since KKR does not have an established wicket-keeper, they are likely to use Sam Billings. He is also someone who will add stability to the middle-order. KKR will need a long batting line-up to avoid problems of the previous seasons. Hence, having Rinku Singh as one of the finishers could help the XI.
All-Rounders: Andre Russell
Andre Russell will have to prove himself in IPL 2022. His recent seasons have been underwhelming and yet, KKR retained him. Hence, it is important that he does well. The management must make the best use of Russell. They could think of sending him higher up the order. In the bowling department, Russell might have to bowl at the death.
Bowlers: Pat Cummins, Sunil Narine, Shivam Mavi and Varun CV
The strongest playing XI for KKR in IPL 2022 will have the same bowling unit as IPL 2021. Pat Cummins and Sunil Narine will form the core of the attack. If Cummins misses a few games, KKR has backups in the form of Tim Southee. One of the challenges for Cummins will be to do better at death. Narine enjoyed good form at the back end of IPL 2021. KKR will hope that it continues.
Shivam Mavi will open the bowling for KKR. He did the same job last year. Umesh Yadav can also come into the XI based on the conditions. Varun CV needs to do well if he has to earn a comeback to Team India.