Two-time IPL champion Kolkata Knight Riders bought 6 Indian players in today’s mini-auction, the most by any outfit. Their costliest Indian player turned out to be Harbhajan Singh, who was signed for his base price of INR 2 crore. KKR will be the veteran off-spinner’s third IPL franchise after the Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings.
KKR’s most expensive buy today turned out to be Shakib Al Hasan, who was snapped up for 3.20 crore. This will be the Bangladesh all-rounder’s second stint with KKR, having played for them earlier between the period of 2011- 2017.
Here are the other Indian players that KKR picked apart from Harbhajan Singh:
Sheldon Jackson was signed for his base price. The 34-year old’s inclusion did raise some eyebrows, but he could be a handy backup wicketkeeping option for the franchise. Jackson last played in the IPL for KKR in 2017 against Royal Challengers Bangalore.
— KolkataKnightRiders (@KKRiders) February 18, 2021
Karun Nair went unsold in the first round, but KKR got him for his base price after giving his name again. In Nair, the Kolkata outfit have got someone who has played cricket at the top level for India.
However, his career has been on a downward trajectory, and the middle-order batsman only played four games for Kings XI Punjab (now Punjab Kings) last season. In 73 career IPL games, Nair averages 24.26 and has a strike rate of 128.36.
Pawan Negi is another player whom KKR picked late in the day in the last round of auctions. The all-rounder was seen as an enormous talent at one point as Delhi Daredevils (now Delhi Capitals) in 2016 signed him for 8.50 crores. However, the southpaw never managed to live up to that astronomical price tag. Negi didn’t make any appearance for the RCB last season.
Vaibhav Arora and Venkatesh Iyer are relatively unknown players who were bought for their base price by KKR. Both are seam-bowling all-rounders. Arora is 23-year-old and plays domestic cricket from Himachal Pradesh.
Venkatesh Iyer, meanwhile, played two influential knocks in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy 2021 for Madhya Pradesh. The left-handed batsman scored an unbeaten 88 against Saurashtra. In an earlier game, Iyer scored 87* against Goa in the domestic T20 competition.
KKR Squad for IPL 2021: Shubman Gill, Nitish Rana, Tim Seifert (wk), Rahul Tripathi, Rinku Singh, Dinesh Karthik (wk), Eoin Morgan (c), Andre Russell, Sunil Narine, Varun CV, Kuldeep Yadav, Pat Cummins, Lockie Ferguson, Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Shivam Mavi, Sandeep Warrier, Prasidh Krishna
Today’s buys: Shakib Al Hasan (INR 3.20 Cr), Sheldon Jackson (INR 20 L), Vaibhav Arora (INR 20 L), Karun Nair (INR 50 L), Harbhajan Singh (INR 2 Cr), Ben Cutting (INR 75 L), Venkatesh Iyer (INR 20 L), Pawan Negi (INR 50 L)
Welcome to @KKRiders Vaibhav Arora, Pawan Negi, Venkatesh Iyer, @Cuttsy31, @karun126. Adding plenty quality to our line up. To add the experience and skill of @harbhajan_singh to our squad is very significant. 💜
— Brendon McCullum (@Bazmccullum) February 18, 2021