Having learnt from their top-order failure last season, Kolkata Knight Riders coach John Buchanan said on Monday that the team’s aim is to bolster their batting line-up in the second edition of the Indian Premier League.
The Knight Riders have roped in New South Wales all-rounder Moises Henriques and they are now eyeing England veteran Adam Hollioake.
“I have had discussions with Hollioake. I see that he has a real role in the franchise,” Buchanan told reporters after the Knight Riders’ first day trials at Eden Gardens.
“There is no doubt that our top-order batting was problem for us (last season). Virtually in every game, within first six overs we lost two-three wickets.
“It’s very much in our thinking that our top-order has to be as strong as it can be. While we may lose one or two international players we have to have our bench strength ready with Indian players,” the World Cup winning Australian coach said.
“Obviously, we are looking at the best possible blend. Last year, (Chris) Gayle, (Brendon) McCullum, (Ricky) Ponting, (Michael) Hussey were important part of top-order. We talked already about Hollioke. We have already roped in Henriques. So there is a blend of all-rounders. But in the end, we want a strong blend of Indian players. We are seeking Indian top order players, all-rounders, then of course, strike bowlers.”
The Shah Rukh Khan-owned KKR is conducting a three-day camp for 45 Indian youngsters who will be scrutinised during a three-day camp that began on Monday.
Knight Riders plan to rope in Adam Hollioake
Revealing KKR’s plans for the coming years, Buchanan said his team’s main aim was to develop domestic talents through players selected at ‘three levels’ so that replacement would be ready.
“The idea is to develop a pathway for players (for KKR). Below that we would have a next level — a level II — the guys who either have played for their state or possibly have not. We believe within a year or so they can be part of the actual side. “And below that, we would like to see our development players. They are potential 13, 14, 15, 16-year-old kids. Our job will be to nurture them, work with their coaches and state association to give them a pathway to KKR,” he said.
Asked about the learning curve in the inaugural edition, where the team missed semifinal berth having finished sixth among eight teams, the 55-year-old coach said their side now has grown up in terms of the format of the game.
“We have seen little bit more 20-over cricket certainly more domestic cricket. We could come to know what it takes to be successful here in India, through the tournament last year either by individuals or by the teams.” Buchanan added: “We are looking to run a couple of matches tomorrow and in game scenario to get to know their application and skill-level,” he said.
“I am very pleased with the quality of most of the players out there,” the coach said refusing to name anybody.
Buchanan also said he was glad to discover a couple of ambidextrous cricketers who had turned up at the camp. He was referring to ME Sanuth and Vikash Chauhan, both of who appeared at the Knight Riders’ trials. Buchanan said about the two cricketers, “Definitely, there’s scope for players who can bowl with two hands.”
Speaking about the duo who are part of the KKR 45-member probables, slogging it out at a three-day trial at the Eden, Buchanan said, “One is a young spinner — Sanuth from Kerala. Unfortunately, his left shoulder is injured at the moment. So he could only bowl with his right hand.
“The other is a medium-pacer. He was interesting because he bowls left and right-hand medium pace. Certainly for me, when I talk about development of cricket, over the time, we will see more such unorthodox cricketers. We will encourage them as we see them in Knight Riders’ way in future.”