Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) have announced that Nitish Rana will be their captain for the upcoming Indian Premier League (IPL) 2023 season. The decision was made after Shreyas Iyer, the team’s regular skipper, suffered a back injury during the recent Test series between India and Australia.
Although media reports suggested that Sunil Narine was also a contender for the captaincy role, KKR confirmed on social media that Rana will take on the responsibility. The 28-year-old has been a part of the KKR team since 2018.
He played 74 matches for KKR, scoring 1744 runs at a strike rate of 135.61.
“We feel fortunate that Nitish, with the captaincy experience of having led his state side in white-ball cricket and the IPL experience he has had with KKR since 2018, will do a great job,” KKR said in a statement.
“We are also confident that under head coach Chandrakant Pandit and the support staff, he will get all the support needed off the field, and the highly experienced leaders in the squad will provide all support that Nitish may need on the field.”
KKR had a disappointing season last year, finishing seventh in the league with six wins and eight losses.
Rana’s Previous Achievements in the IPL
Rana has previously led his state team Delhi in white-ball cricket and has played 12 T20s as captain in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, with eight wins and four defeats. He was KKR’s second-highest run-scorer in the previous season, with 361 runs to his name.
The team finished seventh in the league standings, with six wins and eight losses. With Rana taking over as captain, KKR will be under new leadership this season, with Chandrakant Pandit as the head coach and Bharat Arun as the bowling coach.
They have also made some strategic trades and signings, including Shardul Thakur from Delhi Capitals, and Gurbaz and Lockie Ferguson from Gujarat Titans.
While there is a chance that Shreyas could return in the second half of the season, the Knight Riders will have to do without him for now.
Other KKR Struggles
Adding to their worries, the Knight Riders could also be without Shakib Al Hasan and Litton Das for their opening game on April 1. Both players are part of the Bangladesh squad for the three T20Is against Ireland that ends on March 31.
Litton is expected to miss a few more games as he will arrive in India only after Bangladesh’s one-off Test against Ireland, which runs from April 4 to 8.
The Knight Riders will also have to navigate a packed schedule in late April, with four games in ten days, including two home games and away matches in Delhi and Bengaluru. However, they will only play Mumbai Indians once, which could be a relief given their 9-22 record against them.
Despite the uncertainties, the Knight Riders are looking to start the season strong under interim captain Nitish Rana and make a push for the playoffs.
The KKR will face off against Punjab Kings in their first game of IPL 2023 on April 1. Cricket fans will be eagerly watching to see how Rana performs in his new role as captain of the team.