With the conclusion of an action-packed VIVO IPL Auction, we have our #Knightsof2018 squad ready.
The team has a perfect balance of experienced players like Robin Uthappa, Chris Lynn, Dinesh Karthik, Mitchell Starc apart from retained Knights Sunil Narine and Andre Russell.
With the emphasis of the auction being on young Indian talent, here is a look at the young local Knights who are now part of the KKR family:
“I sat inside the washroom when my bidding was on”, remarked U-19 Indian right-arm pacer, Kamlesh Nagarkoti in an interview to ESPN Cricinfo, after his selection in the Kolkata Knight Riders squad. He was bought for INR 3.2 crores on Saturday. Nagarkoti is currently in New Zealand, getting ready for India’s ICC U-19 World Cup semi-final against Pakistan. The 18-year-old speedster, aslo said that it’s ‘quite unbelievable’ that he will be bowling to Chris Lynn in the KKR nets soon.
Born in Barmer (Rajasthan), Nagarkoti can consistently bowl at 140+ and already has taken 7 wickets in 4 ICC U-19 WC matches. Before this, Nagarkoti had also picked up a hat-trick against Gujarat in the Vijay Hazare Trophy 2017 while playing for his home state, Rajasthan.
Vice-captain of the current Under-19 Indian World Cup team, Shubman Gill, became a Knight when he was bought for INR 1.8 crores on Saturday. "I haven't yet thought about who I will get to play with or who all I can learn from”, Gill told ESPN Cricinfo. The stylish 18-year-old batsman has been phenomenal in the ongoing U-19 ICC World Cup in New Zealand, making vital contributions of 63, 90* and 86 till now. He is the top-scorer for India so far and fourth highest in the overall list.
Before this, he played for Punjab in two Ranji matches (for Punjab) and scored runs aplenty (245 at a SR of 81.39), which was an indicator of his calm temperament. He was also the top run-scorer in the Youth ODI series held at England in 2017 (scoring 278 runs in 4 matches at an average of 92.66). He is a special talent and the Knight Riders family gladly welcomes him with open arms!
All-rounders are a gift to any team and it’s important to nurture them. 19-year old, Shivam Mavi is one such promising Indian all-rounder, who has been in sensational form in the ongoing ICC U-19 World Cup. Currently, the second highest leading wicket taker (8 wickets in 4 matches) for India in the tournament, Mavi was bought for 3 crores in the VIVO IPL Auction. Batting in the lower middle order, Mavi can be handy with the bat as well. We wish him the best!
Playing for Uttar Pradesh, Rinku Singh has been in great form in the First Class (FC) and List A cricket. With averages of 55 and 49.42 in FC cricket and List-A respectively, 20-year-old Singh can strike the ball hard as well. He had a strike rate of 145.46 in the recently concluded 2017-18 Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, a striker rate better than his UP teammates, Suresh Raina and Sarfaraz Khan. At KKR, Singh has the opportunity to gain in experience from some of the biggest hitters of the ball in Russell, Uthappa, Lynn.
A part of the victorious Vidarbha team which won the 2017-18 Ranji Trophy, Wankhade was the highest run-scorer (151 runs in 5 matches) for his side in the recently concluded Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy. The 25-year-old scored 699 runs at a SR of 130, which does indicate that he can play the big shots as well. With form on his side, Wankhade was picked up at his base price of INR 20 lacs.
KKR has a history of nurturing young talent successfully and these young Knights now have the opportunity to go one step further and fulfil their dream of hopefully playing for the country one day.
We are excited at the prospect of welcoming these young turks on board, during the VIVO IPL 2018 season.