The 2022 IPL Auction is only 10 days away, and with the list of 590 cricketers set to go under the hammer on February 11 and 12 announced yesterday, the excitement among the fans has hit a peak.
On Wednesday (February 2), Bharat Arun, our Bowling coach, and AR Srikkanth, the head of talent scouting and player acquisition, were LIVE on our Social Media channels speaking with Gautam Bhimani on a myriad of topics relating to the upcoming auction. Excerpts:
Q. Srikkanth, these must be busy times for you now with the Auction just around the corner?
AR Srikkanth: Yes, indeed. But it's a good challenge to have. The auction is something which we all look forward to eagerly, especially a big auction like this. It gives us an opportunity to build on our legacy.
Q. Arun, welcome to the Knight Riders family. You have been responsible for changing an entire dynamic in Indian cricket, unleashing a fast bowling unit that's feared all around the world...
Bharat Arun: Thank you. It's a pleasure being a part of the KKR franchise. It has been a privilege to be a part of the Indian team before this. In a way, I was blessed to have had a group of bowlers who are so multi-talented. It was a conscious effort, I think, with Virat (Kohli) and Ravi (Shastri) to be the Number 1 team in the world. And to be so, it was important that we win under all conditions. Preparing this bunch of fast bowlers was our biggest challenge and the way they responded... The rest is history.
Q. Your international experience must certainly be of great help coming into this stint...
Bharat Arun: Yes, having watched most of the top players around the world up close, you have a fair idea as to what they can do. And it helps you to prepare and take your calls better, and also plan more effectively during the matches.
Q. We have the KKR Mock Auction goin on, where fans get a chance to share their suggestions with the think-tank. What do you think about this activity?
AR Srikkanth: I think it's a good engagement to have. We can let the fans know the exact kind of thought process that goes behind preparing for an auction. At the same time, we also get a feel of how the fans want us to play the game and the brand of cricket that they want us to play.
Q. In an era where cricket is believed to be more inclined in favour of batsmen, do you think in 2022 we can see a shift in the IPL Auction with so many premium fast bowlers out there for grabs...
Bharat Arun: Yes, I think so. I sincerely think so, because even though a lot of people think cricket is inclined towards the batsman, I would look at it differently. I would say that therein lies an opportunity for me as a bowler to excel. Yes, there are limitations for bowlers. But again, they know that if they execute and if they can build a little more guile around their bowling, they have a chance to be a hero.
Q. We don't know yet where the IPL might be played. Is that tricky when you're picking players?
AR Srikkanth: I think as a team, when you go into an auction, you want to build your team and you want to cover all your bases. You want to build a team where you can go and play in any condition against different opponents.
Bharat Arun: Exactly. You need to pick players who can adapt to different conditions. Even before the pandemic, when you picked bowlers for home conditions, you still needed them to play 7 away games in the IPL. See, with the Indian side, our goal was always to be Number 1 in any conditions. To be able to achieve that objective, I think the biggest challenge was to have bowlers who could excel and who could get to 20 wickets in all conditions. We did exactly that, and that's why we were succesful.
Q. Tell us apart from making the main core, how important is it to have a strong bench strength
Bharat Arun: I think it is extremely important to build your bench strength and that is one aspect when KKR has excelled. Especially in this pandemic situation, where bubble life is tough, you need back ups for any unforeseen situations. Because of the uncertainities, we need a bigger squad nowadays.
AR Srikkanth: Yes. If you have a smaller squad of 18-19, your bench strength can get really tested. But when you have 24-25 players, the challenge is having players who you know won't get many games. In this case, how do you keep them ready to come in whenever the opportunity comes up. So yeah, it's hard but that's the way it is. Nowadays, even net bowlers are picked based on their potential to be a back up because they are in the bubble already.
Watch the full Video Here: