Irfan Pathan, KKR
Irfan Pathan, KKR [PC: X/Twitter]

Former cricketer Irfan Pathan predicted the players for the four overseas spots in the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) lineup in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2024. Irfan Pathan said that Mitchell Starc, Andre Russell, and Sunil Narine would start in the KKR playing XI during the IPL 2024.

Ahead of the IPL 2024 season, the Kolkata Knight Riders secured the signings of ten players, including the historic acquisition of Mitchell Starc for a record-breaking sum of Rs. 24.75 crore. The franchise also bolstered their squad with promising young domestic talents.

Apart from Starc, the Knight Riders acquired Mujeeb Ur Rahman (Rs 2 crore), Sherfane Rutherford (Rs 1.5 crore), and Gus Atkinson (Rs 1 crore) at the auction. The franchise retained players including Andre Russell, Sunil Narine, Jason Roy, and Rahmanullah Gurbaz.

Gautam Gambhir Actually Likes It That Way – Irfan Pathan

In a Star Sports discussion, Irfan Pathan picked the probable overseas picks for the Kolkata Knight Riders’ first-choice XI. He included Mitchell Starc, Andre Russell, and Sunil Narine as first-choice overseas players.

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“They will have to play Mitchell Starc, Andre Russell and Sunil Narine. These three are confirmed. If those (turning) pitches are there, Narine has to play. Gautam (Gambhir) actually likes it that way. He likes playing on the slow pitches and that is where he became champion a couple of times,” Pathan told Star Sports.

Only One Of Them Can Play – Irfan Pathan

The cricketer-turned-commentator suggested that Rahmanullah Gurbaz should be prioritized over Jason Roy if a wicketkeeper-batter is required in the lineup.

“Then they will have to leave out either Jason Roy or Rahmanullah Gurbaz. Only one of them can play. If they want to go with a wicketkeeper, then Jason Roy has to sit out. Then Gurbaz will play,” Pathan stated.

In the previous edition, Rahmanullah Gurbaz scored 227 runs across 11 matches with a disappointing average of 20.64 and a strike rate of 133.53. Meanwhile, Jason Roy amassed 285 runs in 8 innings with an average of 35.63 and an impressive strike rate of 151.60.

Manish Pandey Can Actually Play That Role – Irfan Pathan

Pathan suggested that the Kolkata Knight Riders could consider opening with either Manish Pandey or Venkatesh Iyer alongside Jason Roy. He picked Srikar Bharat as an option for the wicketkeeper-batter role, either batting at No. 3 or serving as an impact sub.

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“If not, what they can do is, start with Jason Roy and have Manish Pandey open the innings. Manish Pandey can actually play that role. With his experience, he can play anywhere, or else Venkatesh Iyer can bat up the order,” Pathan added.

“Maybe Srikar Bharat can actually bat at No. 3 or something. In that way, wicketkeeping will be sorted, or he can just play as a pure impact sub as a wicketkeeper. I really think Jason Roy is a better bet, with the kind of form he showed last year, than Rahmanullah Gurbaz,” he concluded.

Kolkata Knight Riders missed out on the playoffs in both the 2022 and 2023 IPL seasons after their 2021 final. Shreyas Iyer, who was absent in the previous season, will return to captain the team. The KKR team finished in seventh place in their last two IPL seasons.

Also read: “It could be…” – Irfan Pathan delivers verdict on KL Rahul batting in middle-order in IPL 2024

Saikrishna Vaitla is an author at Cricketaddictor has been working since September 2022.