Nitish Rana has been appointed interim captain by Kolkata Knight Riders, while their regular leader Shreyas Iyer recovers from a back injury that is likely to sideline him for at least the first half of IPL 2023.
Rana was one of two candidates for the interim captaincy along with Sunil Narine, who joined the franchise in 2012 and has been with them ever since. Narine had recently led Abu Dhabi Knight Riders in the inaugural edition of the International League T20, where they finished last among six teams with one win and eight losses.
Rana has led his state team Delhi in 12 T20s in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, with eight wins and four defeats. A 29-year old middle-order batter, he was bought by KKR ahead of the 2018 season and has been retained by the franchise ever since. He's played 74 matches for them, scoring 1744 runs at a strike rate of 135.61.
"While we are hopeful that Shreyas will recover and participate at some stage in the IPL 2023 edition, we feel fortunate that Nitish, with the captaincy experience of having led his state side in white-ball cricket and the IPL experience he has had with KKR since 2018, will do a great job," KKR said in a statement. "We are also confident that under head coach Chandrakant Pandit and the support staff, he will get all the support needed off the field, and the highly experienced leaders in the squad will provide all support that Nitish may need on the field. We wish him the best in his new role and Shreyas a full and speedy recovery."
Rana was KKR's second highest run-scorer last season, behind Shreyas, with 361 runs at a strike rate of 143.82. It was a disappointing year for the team, as they finished seventh in the league with six wins and eight losses.
With Rana taking over as captain, KKR will be under whole new leadership this season, with Chandrakant Pandit replacing Brendon McCullum as head coach and Bharat Arun appointed bowling coach.