Shakib provides cover for three players, says KKR analyst

Followed by a two-year stint with Sunrisers Hyderabad and one-year exile from cricket, Bangladesh ace all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan is all set to make his return in the Indian Premier League (IPL) for Kolkata Knight Riders.

Kolkata feels home to me: Shakib

During the IPL-2021 auction in February this year, Shakib was listed at the highest base price of INR 2 crore, and he was eventually bought by Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) for INR 3.2 crore following a bidding war with Punjab Kings.

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KKR analyst AR Srikkanth revealed that when they sat down to plan for the 2021 auction, the Bangladeshi superstar was one player the franchise was desperate to get.

Reflecting on Shakib’s importance for the side, Srikkanth said that he is someone who provides them cover for three of their players — Sunil Narine, Andre Russell, and to an extent the captain Eoin Morgan as well.

So far KKR have won two IPL titles, and on both occasions, Shakib was one of their key players. While Shakib was in the middle when the Shah Rukh Khan-owned side won their maiden IPL title in 2012, Shakib played a much bigger role in 2014 when the franchise won the title for the second time. In that season, Shakib produced an outstanding all-round performance, scoring 227 runs as well as taking 11 wickets.

Since 2014, six years have passed without KKR winning the IPL trophy back. It is likely that in order to end their title drought, they would bank a lot on Shakib.

With Sunil Narine’s batting blowing hot and cold and his bowling no longer as potent, one can assume that the KKR team management would no longer keep faith on him, and rather include Shakib in their regular XI.

Cricket analyst Aakash Chopra also suggested the same a few days back, explaining why it would be a wise decision to play Shakib instead of Narine.

“Nowadays he (Narine) is not giving you four overs, there is no form in batting. Sometimes playing up and sometimes playing down. And if you have Shakib, then you must play Shakib,” said Chopra.

“He will bowl four overs, bat again and keep your middle order. The wickets that have turns will come in handy,” he added.

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