Let’s continue with the Kolkata Knight Riders. Last year I was very impressed with them, for their marketing skills not their cricketing. By many records they financially broke even a great achievement for a new team in a new league. I however want to look at their cricket not management.
They are very like the Mumbai Indians in their inconsistency. Their record last year was 6-7-1 and was unlucky. They had two games that were affected by rain and if they had won one of those they might have made the semis. They have been in the news for the multiple captains idea, but Buchanan has back tracked from that.
Last year's result: 6th Place (6-7-1)
The squad (Internationals Starred)
· Brad Hodge*
· Aakash Chopra
· Debabrata Das
· Cheeteshwar Pujara
· David Hussey*
· Moises Henriques*
· Chris Gayle*
· Mashrafe Mortaza *
· Angelo Matthews*
· Sourav Ganuly (C)
· Laxmi Ratan Shukla
· Ajit Agarkar
· Iqbal Abdulah
· Sachin Rana
· Mashrafe Mortaza*
· Ajantha Mendis*
· Charl Langeveldt
· Ishant Sharma
· Ashok Dinda
· Murali Karthik
· Mohnish parmar
Coaches: John Buchanan
Some scheduling issues to be aware of when choosing the playing XI. The IPL starts April 18th and ends May 24th. The Australian-Pakistan series ends on May 7th. The English and the West Indies will play starting May 6th and won’t be back. The Knight Riders will lose the series of Chris Gayle at this time. They will gain David Hussy and Brad Hodge if he is selected to play versus Pakistan.
In the playing XI the seven Indian players should be Sourav Ganguly, Ishant Sharma, Ajit Agarkar and I don’t know. This is the biggest problem with this team. Shane Warne said last year that the four internationals equal each other and the seven Indians make the difference. Ishant is a very good player. Sourav may be retired but he is good captain and good batsmen. Agarkar is one f the few that has the experience of playing in SA so he will be chosen. I will pick the other Indians after I pick the internationals.
Having Brendan McCullum for the whole time will be great for this team. Chris Gayle will be available for at least seven games this time which will be great. In the first part when the Aussies are missing you take Chris Gayle who has scored the only twenty20 in an international Twenty20.
I am going to assume that Brad Hodge is available so he should be picked. Ajantha Mendis rounds out the four international. His variety will come in handy. Only some of the international players have figured him out so he will still be a mystery to many.
Going back to the Indians you would have to take Shukla, Dinda, Aakash Chopra and Das. I was considering taking Murali Karthik but he is a spin bowler and they already picked Mendis. If the tournament was in India I would consider taking both but that’s not the case.
So the Batting line up would be this.
1. Chris Gayle
2. Brendon McCullum
3. Aakash Chopra
4. Sourav Ganguly
5. Brad Hodge
6. Debabrata Das
7. Ajit Agarkar
8. Ashok Dinda
10. Ishant Sharma
11. Ajantha Mendis
When Gayle leaves promote Ganguly to opener. When Hussey returns play him at two down. In a more seaming track take Mortaza and play him at 6 dropping Mendis. You could also take Murali Karthik as a spinner and drop Shukla.
The opening combo is damn good. Gayle and McCullum are amazing players and worth every penny. I hope Ganguly can stuff his ego and play these two as openers instead of himself. If he wants the best chance to win this has to be the way to go.
Aakash Chopra for those of you that aren’t aware played for India as an opener almost five years ago. His job then was to blunt the opening overs and he did a good job but he is not suited for this type of game. However there is no one else better than him which should be an embarrassment. The other players are even more unproven.
Ganguly is going to be relegated to his role as the fourth down like he did before for India. By the time he comes in hopefully he will be facing spin bowlers who he can play brilliantly against. The short bowl weakness can be masked here.
I wanted Brad Hodge here for some late impetus in the inning to finish strong. If there is a chase he seems to have a good head and might be able to steer the team to the finish line.
Das is a domestic player and is unproven. We have to see how he does here. Maybe he will be a surprise of the season.
Then it’s a long tail afterwards. People say Agarkar is an “all-rounder” but I will never consider him an “all-rounder” after a Test record with seven consecutive Test ducks. SEVEN.
This is also full of question marks. Ishant Sharma is a year wiser and many years better than last year. Dinda was a worthwhile investment last year and might prove dividends this year. Mendis is a very good spinner and has enough variety to keep the batsmen guessing. His overs have to be the ones that change the game for team. Agarkar and Shukla will have done a good job if the can keep their economies below ten.
The wicket keeping is in good hands with McCullum. I don’t see many outstanding fielders here. They will be average. No one with a dead from point or cover which hurts in this format of the game.
They have four very good international players. If you can think of any more email me.
The team with the most turnover. Even though it is much less than last year's, they still have people coming and going. Ganguly is much older and much less of a fielder. There is also some leadership issues with fighting between Buchanan and Ganguly.
Most Important Player: Brendon McCullum/ Ajantha Mendis—four tight overs and a strong opening.
Expensive player riding the bench: Murali Karthik—425,000, why take him when you have Mendis?
Fighting for the last two spots this year. Too much confusion. Too little talent.