Kolkata: Two-time Indian Premier League (IPL) champions Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) have the best batting line-up in the tournament, feels former Australia batsman and KKR assistant coach Simon Katich.
KKR roped in big-hitting West Indies all-rounder Carlos Brathwaite ahead of the 12th season starting Saturday, thus adding more firepower to their already star-studded arsenal which includes the likes of Chris Lynn, Andre Russell and skipper Dinesh Karthik, among others.
“The big fella (Brathwaite) here has potentially one of the best strike rates in World T20. So in terms of our batting, it’s the strongest in the competition,” Katich said during an event to unveil KKR’s eight new acquisitions for IPL XII.
“We are blessed with a lot of powerful players such as Lynn and Sunil Narine, who is good in the Powerplay. Then we have Robin (Uthappa), Nitish (Rana), DK (Dinesh Karthik) and Shubman (Gill),” he said.
Katich said they would have to assess the conditions ahead of picking the playing XI, as KKR have a host of foreigners who could claim a berth. A maximum of four foreigners are allowed to feature in the playing XI.
“It depends on the opposition and where we are playing. In certain games, there may be a possibility that they will play together potentially. But throughout, our batting line-up has been our real strength.
“Last year, six of our batsmen (Karthik, Lynn, Narine, Uthappa, Russell and Nitish Rana) were inside the top-25 leading run getters in the tournament,” he pointed out.
“So we have a very powerful batting line-up. It would be great to see the big fella (Brathwaite) get out there and start swatting sixes like flies at the back-end of the innings,” Katich said.
KKR will begin their campaign against Sunrisers Hyderabad at the Eden Gardens on Sunday.
Apart from Brathwaite, the other seven new KKR recruits include English pair of Joe Denly and Harry Gurney along with Shrikant Mundhe, Nikhil Naik, Yarra Prithviraj, KC Cariappa and Sandeep Warrier, the last two replacing rookie speedsters Shivam Mavi and Kamlesh Nagarkoti, respectively.
England all-rounder Denly, who was bought for his base price of Rs 1 crore, said he was looking forward to make a mark that will also help in his World Cup selection.
“It was a long time sitting out of the England side — 10 years almost. The last couple of years have been a lot more enjoyable. Thankfully I’m here in the IPL, playing for the best franchise in the best competition. I am looking forward to help KKR bring back the trophy and hopefully England selectors will be watching this,” Denly said.
“I want to play a supportive role leading to the World Cup. Hopefully I can get some game time here and contribute to the team’s cause,” he added.
Cariappa, who had failed to impress after being picked for a whopping Rs 2.40 crore by the same franchise in 2015, said: “It’s a great opportunity to come back to KKR. I’m looking forward to make the most of the opportunity.”