Shreyas Iyer's comeback in spotlight in Starc vs Cummins showdown

NewsDrum Desk
Updated On
New Update
Kolkata Knight Riders captain Shreyas Iyer during a training session ahead of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2024 cricket tournament, at Eden Gardens in Kolkata

Kolkata Knight Riders captain Shreyas Iyer during a training session ahead of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2024 cricket tournament, at Eden Gardens in Kolkata

Kolkata: Shreyas Iyer's comeback from a long injury layoff will be in focus as IPL's two biggest signings, Australian pacers Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins, go head to head in Kolkata Knight Riders' opening match against Sunrisers Hyderabad here on Saturday.


The Indian batter, after missing the entire season last year due to a back injury, returns to lead KKR, who have made some tactical additions while keeping the nucleus of the side intact.

Shreyas sparkled with the bat with a 95 in Mumbai's Ranji Trophy triumph recently but it remains to be seen whether he'll be available for all the matches, given his fitness concerns.

KKR's most successful leader Gautam Gambhir is back in his second innings as a mentor. His partnership with head coach Chandrakant Pandit, a shrewd tactician in domestic circuit, will be the key to their revival.


"This is your franchise, make it or break it," team principal owner Shah Rukh Khan has told Gambhir. Under the former India cricketer's captaincy, KKR had a golden run from 2011-2017 -- two IPL titles, five playoffs and a runners-up finish in the now defunct Champions League T20 tournament.

The biggest signing of this IPL is with KKR, and by acquiring Starc at a record sum of Rs 24.75-crore, the left-arm quick will be under huge pressure to perform.

His spell in power-play and the death overs will be the key. Starc and Andre Russell are the only two experienced pacers in KKR's ranks, and with no like-for-like replacements for them, their workload management will be crucial.


KKR boast of a star-studded top-order batting lineup in Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Phil Salt, Venkatesh Iyer and Shreyas to go with the Russell-Rinku Singh firepower at the death.

But the Gambhir-mentored side will rely heavily on the home conditions to offer some spin so as to give the likes of Sunil Narine, Varun Chakravarthy and Suyash Sharma some assistance.

Starc will have his skipper Cummins leading SRH in the adjacent dug-out as the Australian captain will also have his task cut out.


Cummins (Rs 20.50-crore) is the third-most expensive buy in this IPL and all eyes will be on him to revive the fortunes of the side that has had two wooden-spoon finishes in the last two seasons.

On paper, KKR with a star-studded batting and spin-heavy attack to complement Starc's pace, will be overwhelming favourites.

But SRH, under the shrewd captaincy of Cummins, will definitely fancy their chances. Travis Head and Heinrich Klaasen's batting firepower in the power-play and death overs will be vital.


Their bowling also looks balanced with the experienced Cummins and India's veteran death-overs specialist Bhuvneshwar Kumar in the lineup, while the likes of Washington Sundar and Wanindu Hasaranga will be crucial in the spin department.

It remains to be seen whether Hasaranga, the ace Sri Lankan allrounder who has been banned by the ICC for the Tests against Bangladesh, will be available for SRH's opener.

Squads: Kolkata Knight Riders: Shreyas Iyer (c), Nitish Rana (vc), Manish Pandey, Ramandeep Singh, Rinku Singh, Sakib Hussain, Anukul Roy, Venkatesh Iyer, Sherfane Rutherford, Angkrish, Raghuvanshi, Andre Russell, Sunil Narine, KS Bharat, Phil Salt, Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Vaibhav Arora, Chetan Sakariya, Dushmantha Chameera, Varun Chakaravarthy, Mitchell Starc, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Harshit Rana and Suyash Sharma.

Sunrisers Hyderabad: Pat Cummins (c), Abdul Samad, Abhishek Sharma, Aiden Markram, Travis Head, Wanindu Hasaranga, Marco Jansen, Rahul Tripathi, Washington Sundar, Glenn Phillips, Sanvir Singh, Heinrich Klaasen, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mayank Agarwal, T. Natarajan, Anmolpreet Singh, Mayank Markande, Upendra Singh Yadav, Umran Malik, Nitish Kumar Reddy, Fazalhaq Farooqi, Shahbaz Ahmed, Jaydev Unadkat, Akash Singh, Jhathavedh Subramanyan.

Time: 7.30PM IST.