regular-article-logo Saturday, 03 June 2023

Countdown to IPL: Kolkata Knight Riders weigh options for captaincy

Whether Shreyas Iyer gets ruled out of the entire IPL or not, it’s almost a certainty that he’s set to miss a good part of the tournament

Sayak Banerjee Calcutta Published 21.03.23, 05:02 AM
KKR coach Chandrakant Pandit.

KKR coach Chandrakant Pandit. File picture

Shreyas Iyer’s chances of featuring in this year’s IPL appear slim. That’s a big blow to Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR). He is not just the designated captain, but also the fulcrum of the team’s batting.

Whether Shreyas gets ruled out of the entire IPL or not, it’s almost a certainty that he’s set to miss a good part of the tournament. So who takes up the Knights’ captaincy mantle then? Will it be anyone among Shreyas’ India teammates, or will the franchise look towards one of the big overseas names?


“First of all, we’re yet to get an official confirmation (on whether Shreyas would be available or not). The BCCI has to let us know first. Only then we’ll get down to finalise.

“But yes, there are other players too in our team who can carry out that role (of a captain). It’s just that one has to have different skills and experience, which go on to matter,” KKR head coach Chandrakant Pandit, in town for the Knights’ pre-IPL camp that got underway at Eden Gardens’ indoor facilities on Monday, told The Telegraph.

Shardul Thakur.

Shardul Thakur. File picture

Will appointing an Indian cricketer as captain in Shreyas’ absence be more convenient? “It’s not like that. Each and every player in the squad is equal to us,” Pandit replied.

Seamer all-rounder Shardul Thakur is one of the names doing the rounds for the skipper’s role. Importantly, in his early years in the circuit, Shardul spent quite some time with Pandit during the latter’s tenure as the Mumbai head coach.

“Shardul is a good performer and we’re lucky to have him in our team. He had been with me for three seasons when I was the Mumbai coach, so we do share a good rapport. He’s familiar with my approach towards the game and I’m sure he’ll try to fulfil the role assigned to him.

“Besides, he’s a fighter and has the potential to contribute equally well with both bat and ball,” Pandit, one of the most successful coaches in the Indian domestic circuit with multiple Ranji Trophy titles, emphasised. The Knights’ IPL 2023 campaign starts on April 1 against Punjab Kings in Mohali. Even if Shreyas is unavailable, the Knights do look forward to his “inputs”. “Well, Shreyas is an important player for us. So even if he doesn’t play, we hope he can contribute with his inputs which will carry a lot of significance,” Pandit stated.

All-rounder Venkatesh Iyer and batsman Mandeep Singh were taken to hospital later in the day for an MRI scan since they had sustained injuries.

Follow us on: