The Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) have named Nitish Rana as their captain for the IPL 2023 season. As regular skipper, Shreyas Iyer recovers from a back injury that has kept him out of at least the first half of the competition.
The franchise verified the news on social media, expressing hope that Iyer “would participate at some stage” later. While Sunil Narine was thought to be the favourite alongside Rana as the West Indian had been with the clubs since 2012.
Moreover, the Arima-born cricketer had also led the KKR-owned Abu Dhabi Knight Riders during the inaugural ILT20 in UAE this year. However, the management has entrusted the responsibility to Rana, who has previous experience in his CV.
The Indian Batsman had previous led his state side in white-ball cricket and been with KKR since 2018. Rana has only played one ODI and two T20Is for India, has guided his state team Delhi to eight Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy victories.
He has been a consistent middle-order batter for the KKR, scoring 1744 runs at an average of 27.68 and a strike rate of 135.61, including 11 half-centuries from 2018 to 2022.
The fact that the 29-year-old has scored over 300 runs in six of his seven IPL seasons demonstrates his consistency. In aggregate, he has 2181 runs at a strike rate of 134.22 in 85 innings, including 15 half-centuries.
Kolkata Knight Riders released a statement announcing Rana as their new leader
“While we are hopeful that Shreyas will recover and participate at some stage in the IPL 2023 edition, we feel fortunate that Nitish, with the captaincy experience of having led his state side in white-ball cricket and the IPL experience he has had with KKR since 2018, will do a great job,”
KKR said in a statement.
“We are also confident that under head coach Chandrakant Pandit and the support staff, he will get all the support needed off the field, and the highly experienced leaders in the squad will provide all support that Nitish may need on the field. We wish him the best in his new role and Shreyas a full and speedy recovery,”
It read further.
There is no specific timeline for Iyer’s comeback because he is still under the care of the BCCI’s medical personnel at the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru.
Iyer had to quit the Ahmedabad Test, the fourth and final Border-Gavaskar Trophy match, midway through due to a recurrence of his back problem.
He was ruled out of the ensuing home ODIs against Australia, after missing the first Test in Nagpur and the preceding white-ball series against New Zealand due to the same issue.
The IPL 2023 season begins on March 31, while KKR takes on the Punjab Kings on April 1 in their season opener.
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