KKR Looking to Sign one of these Players as Shakib Al Hasan's Replacement: Reports
Shakib Al Hasan decided to drop a bombshell on Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) on Monday (April 3), stating that the premier Bangladeshi allrounder is unavailable for the entire IPL 2023 due to his international commitments.
Bangladesh have a relatively free summer until mid-May after the Test match against Ireland at home this week, but Shakib has opted to skip the KKR duties in India to keep himself fresh after taking an excessive workload through the season where the Tigers also played host to India and England.
Shakib's unavailability has posed a major headache for the KKR franchise who had been waiting for their player to arrive at some stage of the tournament. They are now left searching for potential like-for-like replacements after making an encouraging bid on the valiant allrounder at the auction late last year.
Given that most of the allround options and utility cricketers have been lapped up by other IPL franchises, this process could force KKR to really spread the net wider amidst the leftovers. But the world of cricket isn't short of talent and ability. Here are three options they can genuinely consider to plug the Shakib Al Hasan-size hole in their squad.
KKR's potential Shakib Al Hasan replacements
Nabi, Afghanistan's experienced allround cricketer, could be an interesting choice of replacement for Shakib. With his ability to tighten up the screws on batters and provide the late-order blitz with the bat in hand himself, Nabi provides similar utility to what Shakib does.
If not the playing XI, Nabi's presence in the squad would throw up more options for stand-in captain Nitish Rana and coach Chandrakant Pandit. He is also in very good form as shown during the T20I series versus Pakistan in Sharjah and is not unfamiliar with IPL, having previously turned out for Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH).
Over the past two years, if there is a cricketer who has managed to shut up his naysayers and enhanced his reputation, it is Sri Lanka's limited-overs captain Dasun Shanaka. Shanaka had always been a medium-quick capable of delivering some tight overs, but with time, he has elevated his power-hitting skills to another level.
From being called out for his bits-and-pieces presence in the side, Shanaka has a strike rate of 162.54 in T20Is at the death-overs stage since the start of the pandemic years. He can really blaze off against opposition attacks and provide KKR greater cushion for their bowling attack.
Mitchell maybe one of the only first-choice New Zealand cricketer not to have found an IPL deal, but that is no shade on his abilities, especially with the bat in hand. As KKR look for more of a bat-dominant replacement for Shakib since they are already have Andre Russell and Sunil Narine to bat within the top 7, Mitchell could be their man.
The Kiwi cricketer can anchor the innings and also provide the late-order aggressive streak with the bat in hand, making him a robust option. He can then, come in and deliver a few cheap overs if his side wants. Mitchell may also be placed as the cover for Russell, who has not had the best of fortunes with his hamstring injuries.