Dinesh Karthik steps down, Morgan takes over as Kolkata captain

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Kolkata Knight Riders
Courtesy: ESPNCricInfo

Dinesh Karthik stepped down as the Kolkata Knight Riders captain on Friday. England’s World Cup winning skipper Eoin Morgan is set to take charge of the team from their encounter against Mumbai Indians today, at Abu Dhabi. The decision from Karthik came in as a surprise but the Tamil Nadu player expressed it as a well thought one.

He said that the sole intention behind stepping aside is to focus more on the batting and contributing more to the team’s cause. The two have been cordial and have together managed the team well. Under Karthik, Kolkata have won four out of their seven matches including the improbable defense against Kings XI Punjab. He also showed a glimpse of his batting abilities off-late but has struggled to remain consistent overall.

“We are fortunate to have leaders such as DK, who has always put the team first,” Venky Mysore, CEO of KKR said.” It takes a lot of courage for someone like him to take a decision such as this. While we were surprised by his decision, we are respectful of his wishes.

“We are also fortunate that Eoin Morgan, the 2019 World Cup-winning captain, who has been the vice captain, is willing to lead the side going forward. DK and Eoin have worked brilliantly together during this tournament and although Eoin takes over as captain, this is effectively a role swap and we expect that this transition will work in a seamless manner. On behalf of everyone at Kolkata Knight Riders, we thank DK for all his contributions as the captain over the past two and a half years and wish Eoin the very best going forward,” he added.

Will Kolkata undergo a drastic change?

Eoin Morgan is vastly experienced and has led England very well in limited overs cricket. However, his dependance and confidence on fast bowlers has been evident throughout his captaincy. It would therefore be interesting to see his approach moving forward in the tournament. Karthik has been vocal about his confidence and belief in the Kolkata spinners, especially Narine and Chakravarthy. With the wickets getting exceedingly slower, these spinners are set to come into play more, thus testing Morgan’s ploy as a captain.

One of the first problems to address for Morgan would be finding the most ideal replacement for Sunil Narine. Narine, who was reported for suspect action against Punjab, missed the eleven against Bangalore and is likely to take no further part either. The experiment with Tom Banton at the top also seemed to fail against RCB. Striking the right balance in the team and allowing enough flexibility with the bat and ball would be key to Kolkata’s success.

Coach Brendon McCullum recently talked about Kolkata not quite playing to their best potential. Now whether KKR manage to overcome their demons with this change? Only time has the answer. But one only hopes that the change in captaincy will get the best out of both Karthik and Morgan, the batsmen.

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