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Sunil Gavaskar Supports MS Dhoni’s Inclusion in KKR XI for IPL 2024

Sunil Gavaskar Advocates for KKR to Prioritize MS Dhoni-Style Batter Over Jason Roy

Gavaskar feels the KKR star is MS Dhoni's 'slight copy'

Gavaskar feels the KKR star is MS Dhoni's 'slight copy'

Renowned Indian cricket icon Sunil Gavaskar has drawn parallels between one of Kolkata Knight Riders’ (KKR) overseas signings and the legendary MS Dhoni ahead of the upcoming season of the Indian Premier League (IPL). Despite clinching the title in 2012 and 2014, KKR endured a lackluster season in 2023, finishing seventh in the standings under the leadership of premier batter Nitish Rana.

In preparation for the IPL auction last year, KKR made several changes to their squad, parting ways with players like Shakib Al Hasan, Litton Das, Aarya Desai, David Wiese, Shardul Thakur, Lockie Ferguson, Umesh Yadav, and Tim Southee. Making headlines at the IPL 2024 auction, KKR secured the services of Australian pace sensation Mitchell Starc for a staggering fee of INR 24.75 crore. Additionally, the Kolkata franchise bolstered their lineup by acquiring Manish Pandey, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, and Sherfane Rutherford for the upcoming season of the prestigious tournament.

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‘His batting is like a slight copy of MS Dhoni’

With the trio of Starc, Andre Russell, and Sunil Narine expected to be Kolkata Knight Riders’ (KKR) automatic overseas picks, the competition intensifies between Afghanistan’s Rahmanullah Gurbaz and England’s Jason Roy for the coveted fourth and final foreign slot in KKR’s playing XI for the upcoming season. Backing KKR’s wicketkeeper-batter Gurbaz, former Indian captain Gavaskar expressed his support, likening the Afghan cricketer’s batting style to that of MS Dhoni. “I’ve been impressed by Gurbaz’s aggressive batting style. It resembles a bit of MS Dhoni’s approach, and that’s why I find it appealing,” Gavaskar remarked to Star Sports.

Gurbaz vs Roy

In the previous IPL season, Gurbaz featured in 11 matches for KKR, scoring 227 runs with an impressive strike rate of 133.52. Meanwhile, his teammate Roy amassed 285 runs in eight games during IPL 2023. Gavaskar highlighted Roy’s philanthropic gesture post-World Cup, stating, “After the conclusion of the World Cup, his charitable act of providing financial assistance to those in need should unquestionably secure his place in the team, in my opinion.”

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Iyer returns to lead KKR

Following his absence from the previous IPL edition, star batsman Shreyas Iyer is set to make a comeback as the captain for the 2024 season at Eden Gardens. Alongside Iyer, Kolkata Knight Riders’ (KKR) formidable batting arsenal will be led by Venkatesh Iyer and Rinku Singh. With seven playoff appearances to their credit, KKR’s journey to the playoffs dates back to 2021, marking their last entry into the coveted stage of the tournament.

‘Playoff qualification not going to be easy’

“It won’t be a simple task to secure qualification for the playoffs. However, they have the advantage of experience, both in terms of playing on such pitches and having competed in the IPL for a considerable time. This experience is invaluable as it equips them to handle pressure situations effectively. All four players – Rinku Singh, in particular, who has shown exceptional performance over the past year – have demonstrated their ability to thrive under pressure,” Gavaskar concluded.