IPL 2022: SWOT analysis of Kolkata Knight Riders, Lucknow Super Giants and Gujarat Titans

New Delhi: Over two days of 2022 IPL mega auction, 204 players out of 600 in the final list were acquired by the ten franchises. Here’s a look at how two-time champions Kolkata Knight Riders and the newcomers, Lucknow Super Giants and Gujarat Titans now stack up after the auctions were done and dusted.

Kolkata Knight Riders

The franchise entered the IPL Mega Auction with four retentions in Venkatesh Iyer, Varun Chakravarthy, Andre Russell and Sunil Narine. On the first day of auction, they brought back players like Pat Cummins, Nitish Rana and Shivam Mavi and found a possible captain in Shreyas Iyer (INR 12.25 crore). On day two, they bought foreign players like Alex Hales, Sam Billings, Mohammad Nabi, Tim Southee, Chamika Karunaratne apart from Indian players Ajinkya Rahane and Umesh Yadav.

Strength: Seven of their core members from the last year’s season, including the retention, are now back with them. Shreyas Iyer coming in makes the batting order strong.

Weakness: Doubt over whether Ajinkya Rahane can bat aggressively as an opener with no Shubman Gill around. Absence of a proficient Indian pacer (Umesh Yadav hasn’t been a regular choice in playing eleven) and a domestic batting option may hurt them big time.

Opportunity: Re-create and retain their dynamic self from the previous seasons and go a step far from their 2021 finish as the runners-up.

Threat: Lack of flexibility in balancing the playing eleven, especially in deciding the four overseas options.

Lucknow Super Giants

In its first appearance at the IPL Mega Auction, Lucknow was the only team to utilise their full purse. After picking KL Rahul, Marcus Stoinis and Ravi Bishnoi from the draft, they acquired excellent choices of Indian and overseas players to be one of the possibly strongest sides after the auction ended.

Strength: Their bowling attack has the ingredients to be well-rounded. Mark Wood, Avesh Khan and Jason Holder will handle the pace department while Bishnoi along with K Gowtham and Krunal Pandya offer lots of variety in the spin arena.

Weakness: Though they have batting strength in KL Rahul and Quinton de Kock, the lack of another experienced Indian batter may hurt them. Manish Pandey didn’t have a good time in IPL 2021 while Manan Vohra, with sporadic appearances in the tournament, hasn’t shined on a consistent basis.

Opportunity: With three all-round options in Pandya, Stoinis and Holder, Lucknow will have some striking depth, giving them a chance to rotate bowling options and have lots of batting too. Gowtham can also hit the ball hard and Deepak Hooda can chip in with some off-spin too.

Threat: Injuries to any of the five all-round options can hamper Lucknow’s chances of doing well in the tournament.

Gujarat Titans

The other newbie in the auction alongside Lucknow, Gujarat snapped experienced players like Jason Roy (a steal at INR 2 crores), Mohammed Shami, Lockie Ferguson, Alzarri Joseph, David Miller and Matthew Wade among others after picking Hardik Pandya, Rashid Khan and Shubman Gill from the draft.

Strength: Their bowling combination in Rashid Khan, Lockie Ferguson, Alzarri Joseph and Mohammed Shami looks settled. At the top, they were lucky to get Jason Roy, one of the explosive openers alongside Shubman Gill at the top.

Weakness: Apart from Gill and Hardik Pandya, they don’t have an experienced Indian batter to boost the duo in the middle order. They need to see if Vijay Shankar or uncapped Abhinav Manohar can step up to that job or not

Opportunity: If Gujarat are able to find the right balance and click in unison, then they can pose a stiff challenge in the IPL. For that to happen, they need everything from the build-up to the last ball of every match going their way.

Threat: The fitness of Hardik Pandya, especially on the bowling front, can go either way for the team. If he’s fit to bowl, the balance of the eleven will be sorted. Otherwise, they will have to look around for another option to fill his quota of overs.

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