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Sunil Gavaskar throws weight behind MS Dhoni’s ‘slight copy’ to headline KKR XI at IPL 2024

Sunil Gavaskar wants KKR to overlook Jason Roy to accommodate the star batter, who he believes bats like MS Dhoni.

Legendary Indian cricketer Sunil Gavaskar is seeing shades of MS Dhoni in one of Kolkata Knight Riders’ (KRR) overseas signings ahead of the forthcoming season of the Indian Premier League (IPL). Champions in the 2012 and 2014 editions of the cash-rich league, KKR capped off a forgetful season in 2023. Under the leadership of premier batter Nitish Rana, the Shah Rukh Khan co-owned franchise finished seventh in the 10-team standings.

Gavaskar feels the KKR star is MS Dhoni’s ‘slight copy'(ANI-HT)

KKR parted ways with Shakib Al Hasan, Litton Das, Aarya Desai, David Wiese, Shardul Thakur, Lockie Ferguson, Umesh Yadav and Tim Southee in the lead-up to the IPL auction last year. Breaking the bank at the IPL 2024 auction, KKR acquired the services of Australian pacer Mitchell Starc for a record-breaking fee of INR 24.75 crore. The Kolkata heavyweights also roped in Manish Pandey, Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Sherfane Rutherford for the next season of the celebrated tournament.

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‘His batting is like a slight copy of MS Dhoni’

With Starc, Andre Russell and Sunil Narine expected to be KKR’s automatic overseas choices, Afghanistan’s Rahmanullah Gurbaz will be pitted against England batter Jason Roy for the fourth and final foreign slot in the Kolkata playing XI next season. Throwing weight behind KKR wicketkeeper-batter Gurbaz, former India skipper Gavaskar opined that the Afghan gloveman has an MS Dhoni-like batting style. “I have liked Gurbaz’s batting a lot based on whatever I have seen. He is extremely aggressive, and his batting is like a slight copy of MS Dhoni, and that is why I probably like it,” Gavaskar told Star Sports.

Gurbaz vs Roy

Gurbaz played 11 matches in the IPL last season. The KKR batter scored 227 runs and batted at a strike rate of 133.52. His KKR teammate Roy amassed 285 runs in eight games at IPL 2023. “When the World Cup ended, after that, the job he did, he gave money to the people sleeping on the footpath. For doing that, he has to definitely be in the team for me,” Gavaskar added.

Iyer returns to lead KKR

After missing the entire IPL edition, premier batter Shreyas Iyer will return as captain for the 2024 season at Eden Gardens. Besides Iyer, KKR’s formidable batting lineup will be spearheaded by the likes of Venkatesh Iyer and Rinku Singh. Kolkata Knight Riders have entered the playoff stage of the IPL on seven occasions. KKR last made it to the playoffs back in 2021.

‘Playoff qualification not going to be easy’

“Not going to be easy (playoff qualification). They have to because they have got the experience, not only of playing on those kinds of pitches, of having played in the IPL for a while. I think that experience does come in very handy because you know what the pressure is and you know how to handle it. All these four players have done it exceptionally well. Rinku Singh, in particular, in the last year or so has been tremendous,” Gavaskar concluded.


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