Kolkata Knight Riders enjoyed a great start to the ongoing IPL edition with three wins from four matches but back-to-back losses took them out of the top-4 bracket. With three wins and three losses, the two-time IPL champions are currently are at the mid-table and they face a well-oiled Rajasthan Royals squad to retain their place in the upper half of the points table.
The last year’s runners-up also have a new skipper this season. Shreyas Iyer has not been in the best of form with the bat but the talented India batter has been confident while leading the side. Iyer, previously a part of Delhi Capitals, was bought by Kolkata for ₹12.25 crore in the February auction. He was eventually assigned the leadership role.
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India great Ravi Shastri, who worked with Iyer during his tenure as the head coach, heaped praise on the KKR skipper and predicted that youngster’s captaincy prowess will only get better as the tournament progresses.
“Captaincy comes naturally to him. Look at his aggressive captaincy, you don’t feel like he’s leading KKR for the first time. Looks like he’s been captaining them for the last 3 to 4 seasons and it is visible through his clarity of thoughts,” said Shastri on Star Sports.
“His mindset is clear about what brand of cricket he needs to play as a batter. At the same time, he’s aware of what he as a captain needs to do to take his team to the playoffs and win the title.
“I’ve liked the way he’s spoken during the pre and post-match conferences and that shows he’s clear with his plans. I am convinced he’ll go a long way,” he further added.
West Indies legend Ian Bishop also lauded Iyer’s spell at KKR, saying the Indian has got experienced players like Andre Russell and Sunil Narine to help him settle in the new environment.
“I think despite suffering back-to-back defeats, it is possible for Shreyas to regather his troops and bounce back. When he became captain of the Delhi Capitals, he just got them better and better with every season,” Bishop said.
“It will take him a little settling period here (at KKR) but he’s got some seasoned campaigners around him. Andre Russell and Sunil Narine are experienced players. Coach Brendon McCullum is also very experienced. So I have no doubt that Shreyas will get the guys going,” he added.