IPL 2021: Harbhajan will strengthen our spin department, says KKR captain Morgan

Eoin Morgan, captain of Kolkata Knight Riders. (BCCI)
Eoin Morgan, captain of Kolkata Knight Riders. (BCCI)

Dubai - Eoin Morgan, who will lead the Kolkata Knight Riders this season, knows the importance of having the firepower across all departments


Rituraj Borkakoty

Published: Wed 31 Mar 2021, 7:42 PM

Last updated: Wed 31 Mar 2021, 7:55 PM

Without a solid bench strength, trying to win a tournament as intensely competitive as the Indian Premier League (IPL) is akin to bringing a knife to a gun fight.

And Eoin Morgan, the World Cup-winning England captain who will lead the Kolkata Knight Riders this season, knows the importance of having the firepower across all departments.

The aggressive left-hander, who is recovering from a hand injury, says a good bench strength is paramount when it comes to making a serious bid for the title in the toughest T20 franchise league in the world.

“I think it’s incredibly important because the IPL is the biggest tournament in the world that has the biggest of players,” Morgan told reporters during a virtual press conference on Wednesday.

“One of the challenges in a competitive campaign or successful campaign is the battle with the injuries or illness along the way. Whether you like it or not, it does happen throughout a season.

“So planning needs to be put across to strengthen your team across all areas. We did that in this auction and we are hoping to best position ourselves to have a versatile team when it comes to selection,” added Morgan, whose team had strengthened their bowling by signing veteran off-spinner Harbhajan Singh this season.

“I think adding Harbhajan to our squad has strengthened our spin department. If you look at our spin department (Sunil Narine, Varun Chakravarthy and Kuldeep Yadav), on paper it is one of the best in the tournament,” Morgan said.

“We have to play in Chennai and it can turn there, it can raise the eyebrows of our spinners there. If we do well in the tournament, our spinners would have bowled well."

Morgan was also delighted with the progress of two KKR youngsters – Shubman Gill and Prasidh Krishna.

While the 21-year-old Gill has established himself as the Test opener with his compact technique and sublime shotmaking, Krishna, the 25-year-old pace bowler, marked his ODI debut with a match-turning four-wicket haul against Morgan’s England in the recent series.

“After Prasidh's debut, on the way back after the toss, I went and congratulated him,” Morgan revealed on Wednesday.

“For me, debuts are not entirely just about the player, it is the bigger picture, it’s about their families, friends, the magnitude of sacrifices made by the player and the people around him and the journey the player has been on.

“So, it is a celebration of that achievement and the recognition of the stardom of your next journey and it was great to see Prasidh represent India and do well on top of that.

“Then I think Shubman is in a bit different phase. He obviously has played quite a bit and gained experience of an overseas tour, the most difficult overseas tour in Australia and come back with a huge amount of confidence, having been on a successful campaign.

“It’s an extremely healthy Indian pool of players to be a part of, so it’s an achievement (for Gill and Krishna) to be selected in the side,” said Morgan who hoped to recover completely before KKR’s opening game against Mumbai Indians on April 13.

“Yeah, I feel a lot better than I did a week ago. The plan moving forward is to remove the stitches tomorrow and progress with my batting and fielding in the coming days. Given the time frame I have available, it's looking very good.”

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