IPL 2023: News - Can Nitish Rana lead KKR to their third IPL title?

Nitish Rana will lead KKR in the 2023 season of the Indian Premier League (IPL) which is all set to begin on March 31.

Nitish Rana to lead KKR in the Indian Premier League, 2023 (Image Credits: KKR/Twitter)
By Shurti Banerjee | Mar 29, 2023 | 4 Min Read follow icon Follow Us

As the 2023 season of the Indian Premier League (IPL) is all set to begin on March 31, all the franchises are ready with their plans. And, the Kolkata Knight Riders are no different. However, they faced a huge blow ahead of the upcoming season as their regular skipper Shreyas Iyer’s back injury ruled him out of the season. And, they needed someone who know the team quite well and lead them to yet another title.

And, who can be better than Nitish Rana? However, his appointment by the two-time champions came as a surprise as they had international stars like Andre Russell, Sunil Narine, and Tim Southee in their squad. On the other hand, Nitish Rana has played only one ODI and two T20Is for the national team so far. Each of the 29-year-old’s three international appearances came in the 2021 tour of Sri Lanka as well. He failed to impress as he scored only seven runs in his only ODI and 15 runs in the two T20Is so far.

Nitish Rana in IPL:

Notably, Nitish Rana’s first IPL contract came with the Mumbai Indians in 2015 after they bought him for Rs. 10 Lakhs. However, he did not get to play that season. However, in the 2015-16 domestic season, he came into the limelight where he was Delhi’s highest run-getter in the Ranji Trophy with a whopping 557 runs as well.

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He made his debut for MI in IPL 2016 where he played four games and made a total of 105 runs including a highest score of 75 as well. However, it was the 2017 IPL that saw him leave a mark as he played an important role in Mumbai’s third title win with a total of 333 runs in 13 matches as well.

Nitish Rana’s record for Kolkata Knight Riders:

Meanwhile, Mumbai Indians (MI) tried their best to buy Rana in the 2018 auction but KKR bought him for a whopping price of Rs. 3.40 crore. Since then, he has been a consistent player in KKR’s middle-order and he is also the franchise’s fifth-highest run-scorer in the history of the league with 1744 runs in 74 matches which came at an average of 27.68. However, he is yet to score a century but he has so far scored 11 50+ knocks for the franchise as well.

Notably, KKR again bought him at the 2022 mega auction for a massive amount of Rs. 8 crore. He was also KKR’s second-highest run scorer last year in a disappointing season where they finished 7th on the points table. He could manage 367 runs in 14 matches.

Meanwhile, Rana has led his state team Delhi in 12 T20Is and won in eight out of them. He also shared that Gautam Gambhir is his idol and he has followed him not only while leading Delhi in Ranji Trophy but also KKR as well. It is also noteworthy that Gambhir is KKR’s most successful captain as he led them to both their title wins in 2012 and 2014 as well.

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“For me this is not new. I have been playing a leadership role in this franchise for a few years. It’s just that the tag is of a captain this time. And if I take extra pressure over a tag, then my game can potentially get ruined,” Rana said in his first media interaction as KKR captain. “There is no real fear. Yes, when you do something new for the first time, there is some added pressure. But I have played almost 100 games, and one thing I know is that I thrive under pressure and I am embracing this new role.”

Shreyas Iyer’s record as KKR captain:

However, Shreyas Iyer too led KKR last season. Ahead of that, he became the youngest captain to lead the Delhi Daredevils team, replacing Gautam Gambhir in the history of the league at the age of 23 years and 142 days and was also the fourth overall youngest to captain any IPL side as well. Iyer was retained by the Delhi Capitals in the next Season where he led the team into the playoffs for the first time after seven years. In 2020, he led Delhi Capitals to their maiden IPL final against the Mumbai Indians where he scored an unbeaten 65 off 50 balls for a losing cause.

In the 2022 IPL Auction, Kolkata Knight Riders bought him for ₹ 12.25 crores and was also named as the captain. But the team didn’t get much success under him as they could win only 6 games out of 14. So, everyone will expect a change in their luck with the new captain and it will be interesting to see how Rana will lead the team.

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