On being named captain of Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) for the upcoming IPL 2023, left-handed batter Nitish Rana said it is a great opportunity for him to showcase his leadership skills.
Rana has been at KKR since 2018 and has previously led his domestic cricket team Delhi in 12 T20 matches of the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, resulting in eight wins and four losses. He becomes the skipper in the absence of Shreyas Iyer, who is suffering from a back injury.
"KKR has been my home since 2018 and It's an honour to lead them. This captaincy instils my belief of performing at the highest level.""It's a great opportunity for me to showcase my leadership skills and I will be using all my experience to not just bring the best out of me but also from my team.
I also wish for a speedy recovery for Shreyas and I am looking forward to the new challenge ahead of me," he said to IANS. Earlier, while announcing Rana as the captain of the side for the 2023 IPL, KKR also said they are hopeful of Iyer recovering and participating in the tournament at some stage.
Rana, who also bowls handy off-spin and has one ODI as well as T20I appearance for India in 2021, has been a vital cog in the wheel of KKR's batting order since 2018. Rana, 29, has amassed 450 runs from 14 innings at the Eden Gardens for KKR, averaging 34.62 at a strike rate of 140.19.
Overall, he has scored 2181 runs in 91 matches of the IPL at an average of 28.32 and strike-rate of 134.22, including 15 fifties. Iyer, on the other hand, had been doubtful to participate in IPL 2023 after suffering a recurrence of a lower back injury during the fourth Border-Gavaskar Trophy Test against Australia at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad.
He had missed the ODIs against New Zealand as well as the first Test against Australia due to a lower back injury. Though he did play in the second and third Tests against Australia, Iyer suffered a relapse of the lower back injury a'ter day three's play at Ahmedabad and was taken for scans.
It meant he did not come out to bat in India's only innings and was ruled out of the rest of the drawn Test match. He was then subsequently ruled out of ODIs against Australia held earlier this month.
While IPL 2023 starts on March 31, Kolkata are scheduled to play their first match of the tournament on April 1, against Shikhar Dhawan-led Punjab Kings at the PCA Stadium in Mohali. Kolkata will play their first home game at the Eden Gardens on April 6 against the Royal Challengers Bangalore.