Former Kolkata Knight Riders skipper Gautam Gambhir has heaped praise on the management of his ex-franchise to retain Dinesh Kartik. The wicket-keeper batsman had a horrid run in IPL 2020 with the bat for the team as he could only muster 169 runs in 14 matches at a paltry average of 14.08.
Karthik was also removed from his captaincy role and the baton was passed to England captain Eoin Morgan. However, despite ordinary performance from Karthik, the KKR franchise decided to put their weight behind their former captain.
KKR has released only five players before the IPL 2021 auctions – Tom Banton, Chris Green, Nikhil Naik, M Siddharth, and Siddhesh Lad.
Gambhir feels that Karthik’s retention will give a lot of confidence to the wicket-keeper batsman as he didn’t have an ideal 2020 season.
“Dinesh Karthik had a very bad season last year. He was also removed from the captaincy, but despite that, if you have retained him, it shows that the franchise is backing you. And because of that your confidence increases, and that is the difference between KKR and RCB,” said Gautam Gambhir while talking to Star Sports.
On the other hand, former Indian opener feels KKR have retained their core group before the IPL 2021 auctions. Gambhir believes it makes sense to not release a lot of players. On the other hand, RCB has released as many as 10 players, including Chris Morris, who had done a decent job with the ball in the previous season.
“I am in agreement with all those franchises who have not released too many players. It shows you have kept confidence in your players. This is called releasing just the excess baggage. So, it is not that surprising. The core is still there, they have not done too many changes,” said Gambhir.
Meanwhile, KKR had finished at the fifth position in the previous season and had missed out on the playoff berth due to the net run rate. KKR has a purse remaining of INR 10.75 whereas they have eight slots available, out of which two can be foreign players. Thus, it will be interesting to note KKR’s strategy in the auctions.
KKR would want to rope in a middle-order batsman and an Indian fast bowler to support the likes of Pat Cummins and Lockie Ferguson.