Two-time Indian T20 League champions Kolkata will be looking to end their eight-year wait for the coveted trophy after agonizingly falling short in last season’s final.
Under the captaincy of Eoin Morgan, Kolkata enjoyed a resurgence in form in the second half of last season to accumulate a total of seven wins in the league stage and sneak into the playoffs. They went on to qualify for the final but came up short against a formidable Chennai outfit.
Ahead of the 15th edition of the Indian T20 League, the team management decided to retain a part of their squad from the past seasons while making a few exciting additions that are sure to get Kolkata fans excited.
The Kolkata-based franchise will be eager to claim a third title in Indian T20 League 2022 and look capable of doing so with a strong and balanced squad on paper. Here, we analyze what the two-time champions will likely offer in the upcoming campaign.
Team Kolkata squad
Ahead of the Indian T20 League 2022 mega auction, Team Kolkata retained all-rounder Andre Russell (INR 12 crore), spinner Varun Chakravarthy (INR 8 crore), Sunil Narine (INR 6 crore) and one of the finds of last season in Venkatesh Iyer (INR 8 crore).
In the two-day mega auction held in Bengaluru last month, Kolkata spent big on securing the services of their new captain Shreyas Iyer for INR 12.25 crore.
Pat Cummins (INR 7.25 crore), Shivam Mavi (INR 7.25 crore), Nitish Rana (INR 8 crore), Umesh Yadav (INR 2 crore), Sheldon Jackson (INR 60 lakh), Rinku Singh (INR 55 lakh) and Tim Southee (INR 7.25 crore) are a few more players who were bought back by Kolkata at the auction and will be rejoining the team having represented them in past seasons.
All-rounder Chamika Karunaratne of Sri Lanka (INR 50 lakh), the experienced Ajinkya Rahane (INR 1 crore), wicket-keeper Sam Billings (INR 2 crore) and Aaron Finch are a few more acquisitions that will intrigue Kolkata fans.
Team Kolkata squad for Indian T20 League 2022:
Shreyas Iyer (captain), Andre Russell, Sunil Narine, Varun Chakravarthy, Venkatesh Iyer, Abhijeet Tomar, Ajinkya Rahane, Pratham Singh, Ramesh Kumar, Rinku Singh, Ashok Sharma, Rasikh Dar, Umesh Yadav, Aman Khan, Anukul Roy, Nitish Rana, Shivam Mavi, Baba Indrajith, Sheldon Jackson, Chamika Karunaratne, Mohammad Nabi, Pat Cummins, Sam Billings (wicket-keeper), Tim Southee, Aaron Finch
Team Kolkata strengths and weaknesses
Kolkata has a lot of things to be optimistic about heading into the new season. One of their biggest assets in the upcoming campaign will be the riches they possess in their middle order. Should they have a settled opening pair, Shreyas Iyer and Nitish Rana represent good options coming in at the middle order. Furthermore, the likes of Billings, Russell, Cummins, Southee and Narine coming in at the lower middle order is another boost as far as finishing an innings with a flourish goes.
Another weapon that Kolkata possess is their spin options. Varun Chakravarthy has been difficult to play over the last few seasons, and he - along with Sunil Narine - are likely to have a big responsibility to bagging wickets in the middle overs throughout the new campaign.
As has been the case over the past few seasons, Russell’s fitness could be an area of concern for the team. His form and fitness will go a long way towards dictating the team's fortunes since he is perhaps one of the biggest impact players in the league.
Another aspect of the team’s play that could hold them back is their death bowling. The likes of Yadav, Southee, Mavi and even Cummins for that matter have been guilty of leaking runs towards the end of the innings. Rest assured that if Kolkata do want to enjoy a positive campaign, their death bowling is something they will need to improve on.
Who can be the highest run-scorer for Team Kolkata?
Kolkata skipper Shreyas Iyer will probably be the highest scoring player for the team in Indian T20 League. He has been in stupendous form for India across formats, hitting tons and fifties in white-ball, pink-ball and red-ball cricket of late. Needless to say, he’s expected to replicate such form for Kolkata in the upcoming season and will look to lead from the front as he bids to guide another team to the Indian T20 League final, having helped Delhi to the same stage a couple of years back.
Who can be the highest wicket-taker for Team Kolkata?
While there are plenty of spin options who will look to stand up and be counted, Pat Cummins is most likely to top the wicket-taking charts for Kolkata this season. The Australian skipper comes with an abundance of experience, that of being a proven wicket-taker and a partnership breaker. Unfazed by pressure situations, expect Cummins to be amongst the best bowlers in the league this season.
Where will Team Kolkata finish in Indian T20 League 2022?
After narrowly missing out on the title last season, Kolkata will be keen to make amends and have assembled a strong squad to do just that. Should the team play to potential, a playoff appearance will be a bare minimum since they have the players to go all the way in Indian T20 League 2022.
Kolkata Indian T20 League 2022 schedule, fixtures and match times
All times are in India Standard Time (IST)
|Date and Date||Match||Time||Venue|
|Saturday, March 26||Chennai vs Kolkata||7:30 PM||Wankhede Stadium|
|Wednesday, March 30||Bangalore vs Kolkata||7:30 PM||D.Y. Patil Stadium|
|Friday, April 1||Kolkata vs Punjab||7:30 PM||Wankhede Stadium|
|Wednesday, April 6||Kolkata vs Mumbai||7:30 PM||MCA Stadium, Pune|
|Sunday, April 10||Kolkata vs Delhi||3:30 PM||Brabourne Stadium|
|Friday, April 15||Hyderabad vs Kolkata||3:30 PM||Brabourne Stadium|
|Monday, April 18||Rajasthan vs Kolkata||7:30 PM||Brabourne Stadium|
|Saturday, April 23||Kolkata vs Gujarat||3:30 PM||D.Y. Patil Stadium|
|Thursday, April 28||Delhi vs Kolkata||7:30 PM||Wankhede Stadium|
|Monday, May 2||Kolkata vs Rajasthan||7:30 PM||Wankhede Stadium|
|Saturday, May 7||Lucknow vs Kolkata||3:30 PM||MCA Stadium, Pune|
|Monday, May 9||Mumbai vs Kolkata||7:30 PM||D.Y. Patil Stadium|
|Saturday, May 14||Kolkata vs Hyderabad||7:30 PM||MCA Stadium, Pune|
|Wednesday, May 18||Kolkata vs Lucknow||7:30 PM||D.Y. Patil Stadium|
Author: Andre Pitts
Featured photo: AFP / PUNIT PARANJPE