Aaron Moores | cricket20
Despite having an high profile owner in Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan and being one of the best supported franchises the Kolkata Knight Riders have so far struggled to make any meaningful impact in the Indian Premier League.
The Knight Riders have only won 9 IPL games in total including just three last year during a completely forgettable campaign in South Africa where they finished bottom in the group stages.
After such a disappointing year the Knight Riders have made a number of changes to the management of the team including the appointment of Dav Whatmore as coach and Sourav Ganguly being reappointed as captain replacing Brendon McCullum.
The Knight Riders may have an all star line up but their inability to win close games cost them 5 victories last season and coach John Buchanan his job. Despite having lost 17 games during the last two tournaments the Knight Riders boast two of the finest openers in international Twenty20 cricket.
Chris Gayle and McCullum have scored almost 1,500 runs in international Twenty20 cricket but a combination of injuries and international duty as meant the pair has not always been available for selection. This season Gayle will be in India for the entire event while McCullum will join up with his teammates after New Zealand’s test series against Australia which finishes on Wednesday March 31st.
The Knight Riders have built an impressive batting line up behind Gayle and McCullum with Brad Hodge, David Hussey and Sourav Ganguly featuring in a strong but prone to collapsing top order.
When Gayle and McCullum are on the form the Knight Riders will be a very hard team to beat with Hodge, Hussey and Ganguly supporting the openers. If the top order collapses as it did last year on a number of occasions it could be another long season for Shah Rukh Khan team.
The bowling attack is the Knight Riders real Achilles heel and one of the main reasons why they lost so many games last years. To address these short comings they successfully won the biding for Kiwi Shane Bond during January’s player auction. Bond joins the Knight Riders after playing for two seasons for the Delhi Giants in the rebel Indian Cricket League and will spearhead the attack providing he stays injury free.
They will however be without the services of Pakistan bowlers Shoaib Akhtar and Umar Gul once again and with only Ajantha Mendis, Ishant Sharma, Charl Langeveldt and a number of youngsters to support Bond the Knight Riders will find it hard to contain any of their opposition.