Dubai: There is no reason for the Kolkata Knight Riders fans to fret yet after their loss in the high-scoring match Sharjah - for they were up against a very well-rounded Delhi Capitals team and on a track which has now produced 200-plus totals in all three matches till Saturday. In the end, the seventh wicket pair of Eoin Morgan and Rahul Tripathi almost made it gettable and losing such a high-scoring contest by 18 runs is by no means - a bad deal.
The problem, however, lies elsewhere and the team management should do well to address it if they do not want to lose the early momentum. It’s still early days but skipper Dinesh Karthik seems already a man under pressure and not in control of things - and his tally of 37 runs from four innings has not really helped his confidence levels either.
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The senior wicketkeeper-batsman, who was installed as the new captain to replace the highly successful Gautam Gambhir in 2018, lost his command over the side midway last season as Andre Russell’s differences of opinion with him about the latter’s position in the batting order was not exactly a well-kept secret. It’s with this backdrop that the decision to bring back Eoin Morgan in last year’s auction set the tongues wagging - that he is the Plan B should things do not go as per plan in the 2020 season.
Well, Karthik’s captaincy may not be under any immediate threat, but he should use his authority and enough cricketing nous to make the changes that the team warrants. The experiment with Sunil Narine as an opener, on the back of the runaway success that he enjoyed with his carefree approach in 2018, is a thing of the past now and it’s really unfair to expect him to deliver against the likes of Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje.
It’s time they bring in Tom Banton, the England opener and a T20 specialist, who turned the heads during the last Big Bash League. It was also in defiance of any cricketing logic for Karthik to promote himself ahead of Morgan - who should be the No.4 for KKR under any circumstances. Leave alone the fact that he is the current 50-overs World Cup winning captain, but ‘Captain Morgan’ is one of the most cleanest strikers of the ball who played a big hand in England’s white ball cricket revolution over the last five years.
Morgan and Russell are the number four and five, no questions asked, while Karthik should keep himself at No.6 or 7 to play the finisher’s role - depending on if they want to play five or six specialist batsmen.
It may be a big call to drop Narine if need be, for he has carried the team’s bowling attack for so many years, but this is where the team management would have to show faith in Kuldeep Yadav and Varun Chakrabarthy.