Former Kolkata Knight Riders fast bowler Ajit Agarkar does not feel the need for the two-time Indian Premier League (IPL) champions to change to misfiring opening combination just yet and wants them to persist with Nitish Rana and Shubman Gill for their upcoming match against Rajasthan Royals on Saturday.

Rana has been in good form with the bat but Gill’s inconsistency at the top of the order has hurt KKR so far in their four games of the IPL 2021.

The duo have managed starts of 53, 72, 23 and 1 so far in the tournament with Rana scoring 164 runs at an average of 41.00 while Gill has managed just 69 at 17.25.

KKR still have the option of promoting Sunil Narine up the order to replace Gill. The West Indian all-rounder was KKR’s preferred opening since 2017 with Narine having amassed 771 runs at a staggering strike rate of 168.34.

But Agarkar, who spent 3 seasons at Kolkata, still doesn’t think that KKR should tinker with their opening combination.

“Not yet needed (Narine on top. They (KKR) have got really two good players (on top). Narine can be the floater, which he always is for them.

“Shubman Gill is okay, he needs to get more runs. He looked good in that one game against Chennai, he has missed out otherwise. He is a terrific player, and he is your future. If you are going to give up on someone after four games, you are never going to help your team,” Agarkar said.

“Nitish Rana had a decent tournament so far. So, I don’t think why they should change it. There is always that option, but in my opinion, if Sunil Narine is the floater, it is always good for Kolkata Knight Riders,” Agarkar said on ESPNCricinfo.

Agarkar doesn’t believe KKR should be chopping and changing their lineup too much and urged them to play collectively as a team.

“It’s just that they need to do better, to start playing better as a team. Not just replacing one or two players at the top. I think, collectively, they have not been good enough,” Agarkar said.

KKR currently occupy the 7th spot on the IPL 2021 points table with 2 wins from 4 games and will next face 8th-placed RR in Match 18 at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on Saturday evening. Match starts at 7.30pm IST.

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