Kolkata Knight Riders “do not regret” losing players who are now bringing laurels to other franchises, said team CEO and managing director Venky Mysore on Sunday, adding they made the decisions based on “available information”.
Shubman Gill’s loss has been Gujarat Titans’ gain as the India opener played a key role in winning the title in their maiden appearance last season.
“There is actually happiness when we see some of the players we have developed go to other franchises and do well — Shubman gill is an example,” Mysore told reporters on the sidelines of Knight Golf event in Kolkata.
With 483 runs, Gill was among the top-five run-getter last season. This time too, the youngster has been in fine form with 333 runs from eight innings (41.62 average), which has put him behind Faf Du Plessis in the leading run scorers’ list.
It’s not just Gill, former KKR players Kuldeep Yadav (Delhi Capitals), Piyush Chawla (Mumbai Indians) and Ajinkya Rahane (Chennai Super Kings) have been in fine form for their respective franchises.
Rahane, who got limited opportunities at KKR last season, has been a transformed player under the talismanic MS Dhoni and made a Team India comeback in Tests after 15 months.
“It’s always difficult to lose such players and when they do such well. Yesterday also I was telling Gill (49) that I was enjoying your batting, but I was hoping that you would not take the game away from us. score some runs, but let us… (win),” Mysore added.
Gill scored a 49 in GT’s seven-wicket win on Saturday that also took the defending champions to the top of the standings.
Blaming it on the IPL rules, Mysore said: “The limitation as you know, the rules the IPL and BCCI make. In 2022 auction, we were allowed to keep only four players. There’s always a debate. There is always eight or nine whom we would like to keep, you had to select four out of those.”
“It’s tough, but that’s the system though. It happens to every team. (KKR captain) Shreyas (Iyer) was with Delhi and he’s with us, so on and forth… I can give any number of example.”
“It’s never a regret, and the decisions were made based on the set of information that was available at that point. We believe those were the right decisions we made, but it’s always tough to lose some players.”
KKR had retained Andre Russell, Varun Chakravarthy, Venkatesh Iyer and Sunil Narine ahead of IPL 2022.
“Iyer, Varun took us to the final in 2021. Russell arguably the best T20 all-rounder, Narine I don’t have to say much about him. Those decisions were difficult and in the process, you just let some players go.
“Rahul Tripathi (8.5 crores to Sunrisers Hyderabad), Lockie Ferguson (Rs 10 crores GT), Prasidh Krishna (Rs 10 crore to Rajasthan Royals) you can name several of them who went for big money at auction.
“So when you see those type of numbers you feel happy for them. It’s always a little backhanded compliment to our ability to bring those type of players and grow them in our setup,” Mysore said.
Having endured their sixth defeat from nine matches, KKR now must win all their remaining five matches to keep their playoff hopes alive.
WE”RE NOT FAR AWAY: FOSTER
Assistant coach James Foster said they are working extremely hard and are not far away from achieving that winning mantra.
“We have been working very hard. The players are working exceptionally hard. Seeing the pitches and high-scoring games, I feel we are not far away,” he said.
“Sometimes, there is a fine line between success and failure. We just have been on the wrong side of that, but we have got few more games to go.
“We still have an opportunity to bounce back strongly. We have done that a couple of seasons ago when we were on a roll. We just have to do that again.”
Terming losing their regular skipper Iyer to injury a “big loss”, Foster said: “We have actually played some wonderful cricket at times in our campaign, and pretty much every time we were in with a chance of winning.
“Every innings there has been some standout performances from KKR’s perspective, probably you just need two or three other players to back that up and get us over the line a little bit more.”
On the fitness of Shardul Thakur who did not bowl against GT on his comeback from a niggle, Foster said: “He is just coming back from a bit of niggle — a hamstring issue. He is almost there from a fitness point of view.”