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Ajinkya Rahane & Venkatesh Iyer likely to open for KKR in IPL 2022

With Alex Hales ruled out of the season, the franchise is expected to switch to Plan B.

Rohan Gulaty Author

Updated - 19 March 2022 5:04 pm

With IPL 2022 just a few days away, the talks ahead of the start of season is around the possible combinations of all sides. Because of the mega auction, all the 10 franchises have a new setup this season, which means that there could be new strategies going into the new edition of IPL. But it looks like few teams have been forced to re-think their initial plans due to unforeseen circumstances.

Kolkata Knight Riders, who finished as runners-up in IPL 2021, were struck with a huge blow few days back with Alex Hales pulling out of the upcoming season. The franchise roped in Aaron Finch as his replacement in the squad but considering the fact that the Aussie went unsold in the mega auction, it looks like he has only been signed as back-up option which means he might not walk straight into the KKR playing XI.

Rahane will complement Venkatesh at top

Hence, the big question becomes – Who will open for KKR? The franchise released Shubman Gill and as the youngster was drafted in by Gujarat Titans, the opportunity to get him back in mega auction was gone. As it turned out, the franchise bought the experienced Ajinkya Rahane for INR 2 Crore which was probably the closest like-to-like replacement available for franchise.

While there is an immense difference in the experience of both players, there is quite a lot of similarity between both batsmen with respect to their style, technique and approach. Rahane is also as solid as Gill and can play the role of anchor at top of the order. More importantly, he can complement the batting of explosive Venkatesh Iyer, who is set to retain his position as an opener following his impressive breakthrough campaign last year.

Hence, KKR are most likely to start with the opening pair of Ajinkya Rahane & Venkatesh Iyer for the first few matches of the season. If it does not work, someone like Aaron Finch might come into the scheme of things.

Probable Playing XI for KKR

The Men in Purple also have options to open with Nitish Rana or Sunil Narine but there is a belief that they might stick with the right hand-left hand combination at top, something which worked brilliantly for them last season. This is why Ajinkya Rahane is expected to get a nod ahead, in addition to the vast experience he brings alongside him.

The probable playing XI for KKR (provided all players are available) could be as follows: Ajinkya Rahane, Venkatesh Iyer, Shreyas Iyer (c), Nitish Rana, Sam Billings (wk), Andre Russell, Pat Cummins, Sunil Narine, Varun Chakravarthy, Shivam Mavi, Umesh Yadav.

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