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regular-article-logo Wednesday, 17 April 2024

Sporting wicket for Mitchell Starc, KKR set to open IPL campaign against Sunrisers at ‘home’

The Knights are set to begin their camp at Eden Gardens on March 15. Their IPL 2024 campaign starts on March 23 at Eden Gardens against Sunrisers Hyderabad

Sayak Banerjee Calcutta Published 29.02.24, 10:20 AM
Australia’s Mitchell Starc, IPL’s most expensive buy ever, will soon be donning the KKR colours.

Australia’s Mitchell Starc, IPL’s most expensive buy ever, will soon be donning the KKR colours. File picture

Mitchell Starc, IPL’s most expensive player ever, is likely to join his Kolkata Knight Riders teammates on March 17. That’s after Australia’s Test series against New Zealand ends on March 12 as per schedule.

The Knights are set to begin their camp at Eden Gardens on March 15. Their IPL 2024 campaign starts on March 23 at Eden Gardens against Sunrisers Hyderabad.

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The Knight Riders, who have failed to make the IPL playoffs in the last two editions of the competition, shelled out Rs 24.75 crore for the Australian left-arm quick at the auction in Dubai last year to bolster their pace attack.

The franchise had roped in the senior Australia pacer back in 2018 as well for Rs 9.4 crore, but he missed the season due to a stress fracture in his right leg. Starc hasn’t featured in the IPL since, before putting his name up for the auction last December.

Alongside Shreyas Iyer — in the news for the wrong reasons but set to lead the team this season, after missing the entire tournament last year with a back injury — Starc too will be the cynosure for KKR in this IPL.

What would also be in focus is the Eden pitch. On this occasion too, the Knights will be relying a fair amount on their spin attack that features Sunil Narine, Varun Chakravarthy, Mujeeb Ur Rahman and young leg-spinner Suyash Sharma, who had impressed last year. But the Eden pitch will be a sporting one.

“Spinners will get a bit of turn, but by no means will the wicket be a rank turner. It will be a sporting track with firm bounce and aid stroke-making,” Eden curator Sujan Mu­kherjee told The Telegraph from Nagpur, where he’s busy with preparations for the Ranji semi-final between Vidarbha and Madhya Pradesh beginning on Saturday.

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