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Kolkata Knight Riders: Karthik will eye Gambhir-like success in IPL 2018

Kolkata Knight Riders will miss the services of Aussie pace spearhead Mitchell Starc, who got injured during the Test series against South Africa due to a tibial bone stress fracture in his right leg

BS Web Team 

KKR
KKR captain Dinesh Karthik (R) and his teammate Robin Uthappa during a press conference and jersey of launch ahead of IPL 2018, in Kolkata. File Photo: PTI

TEAM AT A GLANCE Support Staff: NA

Captain: Dinesh Karthik

Batsmen: Chris Lynn, Nitish Rana, Shubman Gill, Ishank Jaggi, Apoorv Wankhade, Rinku Singh

All-rounders: Andre Russell, Sunil Narine, Shivam Mavi, Cameron Delport, Tom Curran

Wicket-keepers: Robin Uthappa, Dinesh Karthik

Bowlers: Mitchell Johnson, Piyush Chawla, Kuldeep Yadav, Kamlesh Nagarkoti, R Vinay Kumar, Javon Searless

*** After a disappointing start to the Indian Premier League in 2008, Kolkata Knight Riders became a formidable side in two previous seasons of the IPL under the leadership of Gautam Gambhir. But time will tell whether the absence of their most successful skipper, Gautam Gambhir, will impact Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) or not, but in new captain Dinesh Karthik the two-time IPL champions will find a seasoned campaigner who feels he has matured enough to "get the best out of the team". Karthik was named as his successor and days after the appointment, the 32-year-old wicketkeeper-batsman became the talk of the cricketing world by clobbering a last-ball six to singlehandedly guide India to a four-wicket victory over Bangladesh in the final of the Nidahas Trophy T20I Tri-series in Sri Lanka. Starc, rated as one of the world's finest pacers, was roped in for a whopping Rs 94 million (Rs 9.4 crore) and tipped to lead the franchise's bowling attack.

But the 28-year-old was ruled out of the fourth Test against South Africa due to a tibial bone stress fracture in his right leg. Knight Riders will miss the services of Aussie pace spearhead Mitchell Starc, who got injured during Test series against South Africa due to a tibial bone stress fracture in his right leg. In Starc's absence, compatriot Mitchell Johnson will be expected to deliver the goods. KKR have always been a strong bowling unit and this time won't be any different. KKR has roped in young English all-rounder Tom Curran as the replacement for Starc and the 23-year-old will add depth in both pace bowling and batting. From India's 2018 Under-19 World Cup-winning squad, fast bowling sensations Kamlesh Nagarkoti and Shivam Mavi will add to KKR's pace strength. Experienced medium-pacer R. Vinay Kumar and Javon Searless of the West Indies will furthermore boost KKR's fast-bowling line-up. Mystery spinner Sunil Narine, the IPL Player Of The Series in 2012, will lead KKR's spin unit that includes chinaman Kuldeep Yadav and Piyush Chawla. Coming to the batting arsenal, besides Karthik and Uthappa, the likes of big-hitting Australian Chris Lynn, West Indies all-rounder Andre Russell and South African all-rounder Cameron Delport should lend their batting some might. Among the younger lot, India U-19 star top-order bat Shubman Gill should do well along with big-hitting Nitish Rana, Rinku Singh, Apoorv Wankha

First Published: Thu, April 05 2018. 19:59 IST