Kolkata Knight Riders, who emerged as the runners-up of IPL 2021, announced their list of retained players ahead of the upcoming mega-auction.
In terms of overseas players, KKR will continue with the experienced duo of Sunil Narine and Andre Russell, who were retained by the franchise ahead of the 2018 mega auction as well. Narine is also an integral part of the Knight Riders' other franchise Trinbago Knight Riders in the CPL. Amongst the Indian players, KKR will retain the young promising and talented Varun Chakaravarthy and Venkatesh Iyer.
Ace bowler Sunil Narine has been associated with KKR since the beginning of his career, making his IPL debut in 2012, while star all-rounder Andre Russell has been a vital cog for KKR since 2014.Both the players from the Caribbean are two-time MVP winners in the IPL, and have been KKR’s consistent and top performers over the years. Varun Chakaravarthy emerged as a crucial player across last two seasons of IPL with KKR and Venkatesh Iyer played an impressive rolein KKR’s come-from-behind performance in the recently concluded IPL 2021.
Speaking on the player retention, Mr Venky Mysore MD & CEO, KKR, said, “ We are really pleased retaining Sunil, Andre, Varun and Venkatesh, they are truly special and will form a good nucleus for us to build on for the next three seasons ahead. I want to thank the entire squad that was a part of the KKR journey during 2021, it was an amazing collective effort to create a comeback which is one of its kind in the history of IPL. We hope that it will be the foundation for better performances going ahead.
Speaking on the announcement, Brendon McCullum Head Coach, KKR, said, “Our last season was a magnificent one, and it made the decision to choose a difficult, the skills sets that the four of them have is not available in any kind of auction. We feel very lucky to have secured these guys. Amongst them, prodigious talent is something one cannot ignore, Venkatesh Iyer is an all-rounder, Varun offers you something that no one else really possess, than we have got a long-term relationship with Sunil and Andre.
The loyalty and the continued belief in players who have done it for us before is something we are really proud of as a franchise. The good thing is we have seen the most successful teams in IPL history, have had consistency in selection and players, over the years it’s the pick of the same players that filters throughout the line-up. We have got a great mix of new players and long-term franchise players and I think it’s a nice balance.
Sunil Narine on his retention, said, “ I am very excited, it’s the only place I want to be in IPL cricket at the moment. If KKR has a team anywhere in the world I would prefer playing for them, whether its KKR or TKR or any other franchise that they would have. It’s been 10 good years through thick and thin and KKR has been a loyal franchise and I look forward to playing at Eden gardens again next year.”
Andre Russell on his retention, said, “Over the last eight seasons I have been a Knight Rider player and it’s amazing that they continue to show me so much love. My journey with KKR continues and I appreciate the trust, support and confidence they have shown in me across the years. I also like the direction they are going in, it’s not just IPL in India, they are spreading their wings and I am happy and excited to spread my wings with them as well. I look forward to being a part of all the franchises they have globally, which ever league they are involved in, I will be happy to wear this logo on my heart.”
Varun Chakaravarthy on his retention, “It feels great to be a part of KKR again, the administration has been very supportive and they are a great bunch of people. I am really excited this time as we will be playing at Eden gardens with all our fans supporting us and I hope that we will make them proud.”
Venkatesh Iyer on his retention, “I am really happy to be back, KKR is the franchise that gave me my big break and introduced me to the world of cricket. I am extremely grateful to KKR management for putting their faith in me. I feel at home being a part of KKR, the franchise has played a very vital role in me adorning the blues. I am looking forward to playing at Eden gardens, it’s always special to be there and to play in front of a packed crowd.”