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KKR’S POOR WICKETKEEPING CHOICES LET THEM DOWN

Not having a full-time specialist wicketkeeper capable of scoring runs ended up being a major problem for Kolkata Knight Riders.

Sheldon Jackson KKR
Sheldon Jackson was good behind the stumps, but his batting disappointed. (Image: BCCI)

Kolkata Knight Riders’ IPL 2022 campaign just showed all the cricket followers and lovers how important it is to have a wicketkeeper in their ranks. In current times, a wicketkeeper is not just who keeps wickets and fields well but also who can bat as well and add some important runs on the board for their team.

KKR missed this key player at the auction table itself. They added three keepers in their team: Sheldon Jackson, Baba Indrajith and England’s Sam Billings. Not taking anything from these two talented Indian ‘keepers, but KKR should have bid for some others instead. For the past some years, Dinesh Karthik was part of the team but he couldn’t deliver to his maximum potential as he would have liked to.

Karthik’s up-and-down performances for KKR could have behind the reason to not retain or bid for him ahead of this year’s IPL. But how the tables have turned. Karthik’s lower-order aggressive batting is one of the most important reasons behind Bangalore’s top four finish in the points table, and his strike-rate sits an excellent 191.33 and his average of 57.40 is also his highest ever in a single IPL season.

Jackson did some excellent work behind the wickets in the five matches that he played, but the same couldn’t be said about his batting. To balance the four foreign players rule in KKR’s line-up, he was initially the preferred ‘keeper. However, Jackson’s poor batting performances led to him being in and out of the team. At 35, despite years of domestic success, he was clearly was not in the prime of his career and it is unfortunate that Jackson didn’t get chances earlier in the IPL.

Billings also performed averagely, and being an overseas player he was also in and out of KKR’s lineup. In the three games he got, Indrajith did not impress.

Here’s hoping that KKR adds some talented domestic and international wicketkeepers to their team ahead of next year’s IPL season if they want to have some chance of lifting the trophy for the third time.

Written by Sambhav Bhatia

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