IPL 2018 player retention: Kolkata Knight Riders release Gautam Gambhir, keep Sunil Narine’s mysteryhttps://indianexpress.com/article/sports/cricket/ipl-2018-player-retention-kkr-release-gautam-gambhir-keep-sunil-narines-mystery-5011611/

IPL 2018 player retention: Kolkata Knight Riders release Gautam Gambhir, keep Sunil Narine’s mystery

Kolkata Knight Riders have, surprisingly, chosen not to retain Gautam Gambhir who led the side to two IPL titles.

KKR have retained Sunil Narine and Andre Russell for IPL 2018.

Kolkata Knight Riders have made a bold decision in not retaining skipper Gautam Gambhir for IPL 2018 while sticking with the mystery spin of Sunil Narine and big hitting Andre Russell. The Shah Rukh Khan-owned team will thus not be sticking with Gambhir who has been part of the side since 2011 and has accumulated 2537 runs. He also led the team to its two titles in 2012 and 2014 but has been released into the IPL auction which will be held on January 27 and 28 in Bengaluru.

KKR sticking with Narine comes as no surprise considering his ability to bowl right from the onset to defend runs on the board or to bowl in the middle to reduce the flow of runs. Last season, he picked up 10 wickets from 16 matches but more importantly maintained a strong economy of 6.98 – best for KKR in 2017. Narine’s ability with the bat came good for the team as he launched the attack in the powerplay overs and operated at a very a healthy strike-rate.

They’ve also retained Andre Russell who didn’t feature last season after being banned for a year due to a doping violation. He’s been part of the squad since 2014 where he was picked up for Rs 60 lakh during the auction. Thanks to his pinch hitting abilities and history of being able to provide teams with a push at the fag end of the innings, KKR have loosened their purse strings for the West Indian. In the three seasons, he scored 516 runs while scoring only 2 runs in the first season followed by 326 and 188 runs.

KKR have also chosen not to retain the likes of Manish Pandey, Robin Uthappa, Chris Lynn, Yusuf Pathan, Chris Woakes, Umesh Yadav, Nathan Coulter-Nile or Kuldeep Yadav.