Foot-volley, range-hitting and jovial sessions: How KKR are preparing for IPL 2024 finale in Chennai

-Subhayan Chakraborty from Chennai

Before the IPL 2024 Qualifier 2 between SunRisers Hyderabad and Rajasthan Royals at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai, finalists, Kolkata Knight Riders got a golden opportunity to train at the venue as they gear up to lift their first IPL trophy since 2014 and third overall after stellar display of all-round cricket so far in the tournament.

KKR finished first in the group stage while dismantling SRH in the Qualifier 1 in Ahmedabad and the mood in the camp showed glimpses of a happy and confident side.

KKR began their practice session with a light warmup drill involving football, setting a jovial tone for the day. The players, joined by team mentor Gautam Gambhir, then engaged in a spirited game of foot volley, filled with laughter and a light-hearted atmosphere throughout the camp.


As the other players enjoyed football, star all-rounder Andre Russell kicked off the net practice, facing throwdowns from both left and right arms that targeted his body and cramped him for room. He responded with powerful strokes, displaying his aggressive style as he launched a few massive sixes in the stands.

Following Russell, fellow Caribbean cricketer Sunil Narine, who has been KKR’s talisman with the bat and ball, took his turn at the nets, hitting the ball with impeccable timing and precision. The free-flowing bat swing was on display, with KKR hoping for another match-winning outing from the all-rounder, who is leading the MVP chart in IPL 2024.

In the main nets, Venkatesh Iyer and Nitish Rana began their session, facing a mix of pacers and spinners, along with throwdowns from Abhishek Nayar. After Venkatesh, Rahmanullah Gurbaz stepped in, concentrating primarily on spinners, including Afghanistan’s mystery spinner Allah Mohammad Ghazanfar.

While sources in TNCA have confirmed that the pitch for both Qualifier 2 and Final will be batting-friendly, there is a consensus that it may also grip slightly, helping the spinners, given extreme hot and humid conditions in Chennai.

Mitchell Starc and Harshit Rana were notable absentees from the session. Meanwhile, KKR’s bowling coach Bharat Arun was seen having extensive discussions with Vaibhav Arora, who has been a standout performer with the new ball for KKR. Nitish Rana also displayed his full range of shots, executing slog sweeps and cuts with ease as he prepared for the upcoming finale.

Ramandeep Singh, who has played some impactful cameos down the order, exuded confidence as he dispatched deliveries from Dushmantha Chameera, Chetan Sakariya, and various net bowlers to all parts of the ground. After the main nets, Rinku Singh and Gurbaz engaged in range hitting at the center wicket net. Rinku, in particular, hammered a few lusty blows to the stands.

Throughout the session, all KKR batters minus skipper Shreyas Iyer took turns to fine-tune their batting, ensuring they are in top form for their next challenge, whoever it might be between SRH and RR.

Also Read: Ashwin’s father Ravichandran: Want him to be Royals’ shining light in Qualifier 2 and final