Indian T20 League: Who should be Kolkata's four overseas players?
Kolkata have a strong squad headlined by some big additions for the 2020 season and will therefore be vying for nothing short of a title win in 2020. The Indian T20 League franchise will have some key decisions to make in terms of their overseas players this season.
Overseas players: Andre Russell, Chris Green, Eoin Morgan, Sunil Narine, Tom Banton, Ali Khan, Lockie Ferguson, Pat Cummins
A 15.5 crore purchase for Kolkata, the Australian fast bowler is a hit-the-deck pacer who can extract pace and bounce off any deck. Kolkata fulfilled a major requirement when they brought Cummins onboard - hiring a pace leader. With their Indian seamers all inexperienced and the other overseas pace bowlers not quite clicking, Kolkata needed a leader and in Cummins, they have a perfect attack head. Cummins will likely play all games for Kolkata this season.
Unquestionably, the most sought-after T20 player in the world and possibly the most dangerous hitter currently in the game, Andre Russell packs quite a punch and ticks a lot of boxes. The West Indian is a relentless aggressor in the middle and death overs and can single-handedly win matches on his own. While his injury issues have been troublesome, Russell loves bowling and has more often than not taken up bowling duties too at Kolkata. Expect Russell to storm in once again this season, especially as the wickets are to his liking in UAE, where conditions are similar to that in the Caribbean Islands during the CPL.
A powerplay power hitter, a middle overs and death overs spinner and a dynamic cricketer, all in all, Sunil Narine is the most versatile of Kolkata's assets and will undoubtedly be a lynchpin in their line-up this year too. He will likely open the innings with Shubman Gill or Rahul Tripathi and maybe even the bowling, considering the wickets in UAE and that Cummins needs a spin partner. With none of Kolkata's home spinners capable of bowling in the powerplay, Narine might be tasked with that job too. Expect him to come blazing with bat and ball as he did during the CPL.
The fourth pick for Kolkata is a tricky one. They have the England skipper Eoin Morgan who is a gun T20 batsman, the up and coming Tom Banton to open alongside Narine, the handy Chris Green who can solve their powerplay spin issues and help them save Narine for later, and Lockie Ferguson to partner alongside Cummins and offer extra pace. Morgan is likely to get the most games among these three. The England captain is a terrific T20 player without a shade of doubt but in slow, low conditions, his effectiveness might be drastically contained by spin. Even then, middle-order of Morgan, Karthik and Russell is too tempting to resist.
Feature image courtesy: AFP / Dibyangshu Sarkar