KKR face tough questions in Shreyas Iyer’s absence


Shreyas Iyer has been sidelined by recurring lower-back issue and there is no definitive return date yet, leaving the Knight Riders without their regular captain. Nitish Rana has been asked to step in on a temporary basis. There is a slim chance that Shreyas could return in the second half of the season.
Knight Riders could be without Shakib and Litton for their opening game of the season, on 1 April. Both are part of the Bangladesh squad for the three T20Is against Ireland that ends on 31 March. Litton could miss a few more games because he will arrive in India only after Bangladesh’s one-off Test against Ireland, which runs from 4 to 8 April.
Brendon McCullum is no longer their coach, having moved to a permanent role with the England men’s Test side, and Knight Riders have brought in experienced Indian hands – Chandrakant Pandit (head coach) and Bharat Arun (bowling coach). Ryan ten Doeschate is their fielding coach.
They were also busy between seasons, trading in Shardul Thakur from Delhi Capitals, and Gurbaz and Lockie Ferguson from Gujarat Titans. That left them with a small purse of INR 7.05 crore at the IPL auction, where six of their eight new picks were base-price purchases. They signed Jagadeesan, Vaibhav, Mandeep, Suyash Sharma, David Wiese, Kulwant Khejroliya, Shakib and Litton.
Andre Russell finally has an overseas back-up in Wiese, useful for the side since the West Indian needs workload management if the team needs him at 100% fitness. Their wicketkeeping options are more attractive than their 2022 squad, which included Sheldon Jackson, B Indrajith and Sam Billings. Thakur strengthens the bowling and batting, while their new coaching staff and interim captain could come with a hard reset after a disappointing IPL 2022.