Kolkata Knight Riders will start their campaign on April 1 against the Punjab Kings in IPL 2023 in the absence of their skipper Shreyas Iyer. The star Indian batter is recovering from a back injury and will remain unavailable for the major part of the upcoming edition of the Indian Premier League.

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Nitish Rana will lead the side in the absence of Shreyas Iyer. It is the first time when Rana will lead an IPL team. Nitish Rana and team management will look to find a combination that can get success even without Shreyas Iyer.

Meanwhile, Bangladesh players haven’t received their NOC from BCB as they are part of the squad for the series against Ireland. Thus, Shakib Al Hasan and Litton Das will remain unavailable for selection in some of the games.

KKR pacer Lockie Ferguson too has suffered a back injury and there’s no clarity over his participation in IPL 2023. Kolkata Knight Riders thus have only 5 overseas options to select from.

Here’s the list of 4 overseas players who might feature in KKR’s playing XI against Punjab Kings on April 1:

1. Sunil Narine

Sunil Narine has been one of the pillars for the KKR side since IPL 2012. He hasn’t played for any other IPL franchise right since his debut as Kolkata Knight Riders have always retained him in all the mega auctions.

He has taken 152 wickets in the 148 IPL games for KKR with an excellent economy rate of just 6.63. Sunil Narine regularly bowls the pressure overs for his side. The Caribbean all-rounder has also played a few crucial knocks with the bat at the top.

2. Andre Russell

Andre Russell is hailed as one of the most destructive batters in the history of T20 cricket. During his peak, Russell has won a number of games for the KKR side single-handedly both with the bat and the ball.

He strikes at an incredible rate of 177.88 and has scored 2035 runs in 98 IPL matches. Russell has scalped 89 wickets and mostly bowls in the death overs which allows better stability to their bowling lineup.

3. Tim Southee

The New Zealand test skipper has tons of experience of playing in the various T20 leagues. His experience and leadership skills will help Nitish Rana who’s pretty inexperienced as a captain.

Tim Southee gets to swing the ball both ways and has got a knack of taking wickets in the powerplay overs. Whenever needed, Southee can also score some crucial runs for KKR as he has a record of hitting massive sixes.

4. Rahmanullah Gurbaz

The Afghanistan opener has been pretty consistent in international cricket for the past couple of years. The KKR side have got a few opening options but might get tempted to play Gurbaz at the top.

If KKR plays Venkatesh Iyer or Nitish Rana as an opener, Gurbaz will allow them to get the right-hand left-hand combination at the top. He is equally good against both pace and spin and hence should get a chance in the playing XI.

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