Aakash Chopra believes the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) are unlikely to retain their skipper Eoin Morgan ahead of the IPL 2022 auction.
Morgan replaced Dinesh Karthik as the KKR skipper at the halfway stage of IPL 2020. The England limited-overs captain failed to help the franchise make the playoffs last year and they are currently placed seventh in the IPL 2021 points table.
In a video shared on his YouTube channel, Aakash Chopra highlighted that KKR are short on retention options, with the franchise also likely to release Morgan. He observed:
“Unfortunately, KKR do not have too many options. There was a time when they used to have a lot of options. They were like that gun side. They will not retain the captain itself, I don’t think so, they shouldn’t also.”
The former KKR player feels the franchise should retain Andre Russell and Shubman Gill as their first two options while also naming the latter as a captaincy candidate. Chopra reasoned:
“The first retention, in my opinion, will be Andre Russell. The second retention you can keep Gill, you should start seeing him with the captaincy lens. If you let Gill go, you will get him back very expensive. I don’t think you will be able to build your team around anyone, there is not a lot of Indian batting talent that’s available. You might want to bring Ishan Kishan but that is down to how the auction dynamics work.”
Gill has endured a rather poor first half of IPL 2021, his 132 runs coming at an underwhelming average of 18.85 and a below-par strike rate of 117.85. However, KKR might still opt to retain him as he is a proven performer and a long-term prospect.
Aakash Chopra’s RTM picks for KKR
Aakash Chopra named Varun Chakravarthy and Lockie Ferguson as his two RTM picks for KKR. He said:
“Varun Chakravarthy will be my ‘Right to Match’ card. I will think about Lockie Ferguson for the RTM card. I will not be thinking anything about anyone else.”
The 43-year-old signed off by stating that the likes of Sunil Narine, Morgan and others are not tempting retention picks for KKR. Chopra stated:
“Sunil Narine can go, Morgan can go. It really doesn’t make a difference. But these will be my four picks for the Kolkata franchise.”
Pat Cummins, who has opted out of the remainder of IPL 2021, could be another player who could be in KKR’s scheme of things in terms of retention.