Two-time Indian Premier League (IPL) winners Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) will miss Gautam Gambhir in the 2018 edition, starting April 7, but their thrust for glory will resume under the leadership of a new but dynamic skipper Dinesh Karthik. The 32-year-old Tamil Nadu batsman struck a last-ball six to help India beat Bangladesh by four wickets to win the 2018 Nidahas Trophy T20I Tri-series at the R Premadasa Stadium, Colombo.
Gambhir, who led KKR to titles in 2012 and 2014, left the Purple camp to join his home team Delhi Daredevils ahead of the IPL 2018. On his departure, Bollywood superstar and co-owner of KKR, Shah Rukh Khan said that he will miss the services of former skipper Gambhir in the upcoming edition of glam-filled T20 league.
Under the captaincy of Gambhir, KKR performed impressively well as he led the team from the front to turnaround their fortunes. He played a crucial role in KKR's success with his batting in the T20 extravaganza. The stylish left-hander was their highest run-scorer in the last two seasons of IPL.
For the fresh season, KKR named wicketkeeper-batsman Dinesh Karthik their captain. Shah Rukh welcomed the Chennai batsman with a heartwarming message. "As we stand poised for a new season of KKR we welcome @DineshKarthik as our Captain. Like our Captains over the years we know you will also lead us by boosting the self-esteem and dignity of all of us," Shah Rukh said on Twitter.
Along with wicketkeeper-batsman Robin Uthappa as vice-captain, Karthik-led side look balanced on paper as it contains Australia batsman Chris Lynn, West Indies all-rounder Andre Russell and South African all-rounder Cameron Delport among explosive T20 batsmen.
The fast bowling department will be led by Australia's Mitchell Johnson, who will be playing alongside fellow countryman Mitchell Starc. From India's 2018 Under-19 World Cup-winning squad, fast bowling sensations Kamlesh Nagarkoti and Shivam Mavi will add to KKR's pace strength.
India's Vinay Kumar and Javon Searless of West Indies will boost KKR's fast-bowling line-up furthermore.
Among young batsmen in the camp, India U-19 star hitter Shubman Gill looks KKR's smart pick from the IPL Auction. Nitish Rana, Rinku Singh, Apoorv Wankhade and Ishank Jaggi will be the other batsmen in KKR's strong batting line-up.
The Jacques Kallis-coached side will take on Royal Challengers Bangalore in their first match of the IPL 2018 at Eden Gardens on April 8.
Kolkata Knight Riders Complete Squad
Sunil Narine, Andre Russell, Chris Lynn, Mitchell Starc, Dinesh Karthik (C), Robin Uthappa, Kuldeep Yadav, Piyush Chawla, Nitish Rana, Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Shivam Mavi, Mitchell Johnson, Shubman Gill, Vinay Kumar, Rinku Singh, Cameron Delport, Javon Searless, Apoorv Wankhade, Ishank Jaggi