Mumbai, April 25 (IANS) Former India bowler Ajit Agarkar has asked the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) think-tank to fix their playing XI as quickly as possible in order to avoid one embarrassing defeat after another in the Indian Premier League (IPL).
The Kolkata franchise lost to Rajasthan Royals by six wickets at the Wankhede Stadium on Saturday, with South African pace bowler Chris Morris destroying the middle order, taking four wickets.
“For a batting line-up which is full of talent, full of ability, they’re just not playing well enough. You could excuse a couple of pitches in Chennai and say ‘Oh, those were tough wickets maybe and that’s why they didn’t get their rhythm ‘, but here (in Mumbai) you’ve got no excuse,” opined Agarkar, who has 288 wickets in One-day Internationals.
“Maybe this wasn’t a 200-run pitch but sure they (KKR) have enough talent to get to 160, which then almost becomes a match-winning total,” said Agarkar.
“And if you take my opinion, they should take a look at someone like Lockie Ferguson to come into the playing XI, whether it is at the expense of an Eoin Morgan or Pat Cummins or a Sunil Narine. He’s someone who’ll win you games on these pitches.”
The clamour has been growing among KKR fans to bring in the New Zealand tearaway bowler who has 69 ODI wickets (37 matches) and 24 T20I scalps (13 matches).
“Lockie Ferguson, when he came into that team last season in the UAE, you could see he provided something different to the bowling attack. He had a lot of raw pace and wicket-taking ability. As good as their (KKR) seamers are, I can’t see them blowing teams away. Ferguson, on his day, has that ability,” opined Agarkar.
Asked if KKR’s decision-making was an issue and if it was affecting the players, South African fast bowler Dale Steyn said, “In the first (IPL) game they played (this season), they had some amazing strategy. Since then, some of the strategies and plans haven’t come off and now players wonder what their role is. With KKR, we’ve seen a lot of different kinds of strategies, lot of different tactics, out-of-the-box thinking. And it hasn’t quite worked for them since the first game. It’s strange, some of the decision they have been making,” said Steyn.
Steyn was all for drastic changes in the team, like sending Sunil Narine to open the batting in place of a struggling Shubman Gill, or “adopting the bold strategy” of dropping Pat Cummins and bringing in Lockie Ferguson for a game or two “to see if there is any kind of difference he can make”.