The Telegraph
Thursday , February 13 , 2014
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Morne with KKR, but others steal the show

Morne Morkel

Bangalore: The Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) have lined up an impressive pace attack, which includes Morne Morkel and Umesh Yadav, but were overall outshone by the other franchises on Day I of the auction for the next three editions of the IPL.

Besides retaining Jacques Kallis and buying Robin Uthappa, KKR didn’t get a single batsman. And, from a local point of view, not one player from Calcutta.

The franchise’s CEO, Venky Mysore, had spoken about the need to be “smart” at the auction table. Few, however, were convinced that’s how he and his colleagues went about business.

Then, an hour or so after the day’s auction got over, on Wednesday, a bit of intrigue got thrown in...

This Reporter was present when a Shah Rukh Khan confidant came to a KKR official and said: “Kya hua? (Virender) Sehwag ko nahin liya? Kya baat ki gayi thi aur kya table pe hua... Aur kitne bowlers aap loge? Batting kaun karega?

The confidant implied that Shah Rukh, the principal owner, wanted Sehwag to be bought. But KKR didn’t even bid for him.

At times, KKR’s strategy was baffling: They bid for Kallis, thereby raising his price, and then used the Right to Match card!

That wasn’t all.

The franchise used the second Right to Match card to retain Yusuf Pathan, one of the big failures in 2013. Using it for Mohammed Shami, a top gun now, would have made much more sense.

Apparently, KKR have “shortlisted” some uncapped India players, who will be targeted on Thursday. U-19 captain Vjay Zol, for one, should be much sought after.

The franchise could, according to a source of The Telegraph, also go for some of the unsold ones.

All franchises must have a minimum of 16 players on their rolls. Add captain Gautam Gambhir and Sunil Narine, the only two retained, and KKR’s total stands at 10.