Nitish Rana will be captaining Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in IPL 2023 till the time their regular skipper Shreyas Iyer stays out owing to a resurfacing back injury. 
The Knight Riders made the announcement on Monday evening.“…Nitish, with the captaincy experience having led his state side (Delhi) in white-ball cricket and the IPL experience he has had with KKR since 2018, will do a great job,” the franchise said in a statement. 
The Knight Riders still remain “hopeful” of Shreyas’ availability “at some stage” in the coming edition of the tournament, but one will not be surprised if Rana goes on to be the captain for the entire length of the league.
Shreyas had reported at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bangalore ahead of the India-Australia ODIs earlier this month.Sources there said Shreyas is “most likely to be out of the entire IPL and consulting doctors on whether to go for surgery or not as that’s his last resort”.
If Shreyas is unable to return, the task will only get bigger for the left-handed Rana, who has so far made 74 appearances for the Knight Riders and aggregates 1,744 runs at an average of 27.68 and a strike rate of 135.61.He also has 11 half-centuries for the Knights.
In terms of captaincy, the 29-year-old has so far led Delhi in 12 T20s in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, winning eight and losing four of them.He also led in some matches of last season’s Vijay Hazare Trophy (national one-dayers).
Captaincy thus isn’t an unknown territory for Rana.That said, leading a team in the IPL is a different ballgame as the pressure is far greater.
The Knights obviously trusted Rana’s overall experience along with his contribution with the bat for the team.Importantly, Rana was the Knight Riders’ second-highest scorer last season, behind Shreyas, with 361 runs at a strike rate of 143.82, averaging 27.76.
“The IPL is obviously a different platform and stage, but Rana is a much more mature player now and no longer a rookie.Besides, his captaincy is cut out for the shorter version as he has got a sharp brain,” Abhay Sharma, who coached Delhi last season, told The Telegraph.
But with players like seamer all-rounder Shardul Thakur and pacer Umesh Yadav in the squad and having much more international experience, how wise was the decision to pick Rana for the top job? 
“Just because the two(Shardul and Umesh) have greater international experience doesn’t mean they will be good captains as well.Also, Rana has been a consistent batter, which must have been taken into account,” Madan Lal, a former member of the BCCI’s cricket advisory committee, stated.

By admin