Dinesh Karthik was on Sunday (March 4) named captain of the Kolkata Knight Riders side for the upcoming season of the Indian Premier League.
Karthik, who was bought for Rs. 7.4 crores at the IPL 2018 auction in January, was among the prominent names mentioned with the franchise running a social media campaign over the past week asking fans who the captain should be. Karthik, Robin Uthappa and Chris Lynn were the frontrunners for the position, but Karthik’s past experience of leading in the limited-over formats possibly helped the franchise arrive at the decision.
With 2,903 runs scored at an average of 24.8 in 152 matches over the past 10 seasons of the IPL, Karthik fit the bill perfectly, according to Venky Mysore, the Chief Executive Officer, who made the announcement through a live video on social media alongside Simon Katich, the assistant coach, who joined in via video conference.
“KKR has done well consistently in the last ten years,” said Karthik, who turned out for Gujarat Lions last season, after the announcement. “The team has a great legacy. I am really happy and honoured to lead this side. We have a good blend of youth and experience.”
After a lot of chopping and changing through the first few years, when Kolkata were led by Sourav Ganguly and Brendon McCullum, the management appointed Gautam Gambhir as their leader in 2011. Kolkata went on to win the IPL twice during Gambhir’s seven-year reign.
“We are looking forward to work under coach Jacques Kallis,” Karthik added. “All the foreign players are really good too. I will try to take the team forward from where Gautam Gambhir left.”
Uthappa was named Karthik’s deputy – a role that the batsman said he was eagerly looking forward to. In addition to being Karthik’s vice-captain, Uthappa can also serve as the back-up ‘keeper, having worn the gloves for Kolkata regularly in the past.
“DK and I know each other from our U-17 playing days; I’m really excited to work with him,” he said.
Kolkata’s season kicks off with a match against Royal Challengers Bangalore at Eden Gardens in Kolkata on April 8.
KKR squad: Dinesh Karthik (capt, wk), Robin Uthappa (vice-capt, wk), Andre Russell, Sunil Narine, Mitchell Starc, Chris Lynn, Piyush Chawla, Kuldeep Yadav, Shubman Gill, Ishank Jaggi, Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Nitish Rana, Vinay Kumar, Apoorv Wankhade, Rinku Singh, Shivam Mavi, Cameron Delport, Mitchell Johnson, Javon Searless