New year. New Hopes and most importantly, new set up. Kings Xi Punjab is all set to compete for yet another IPL.
Despite having ton loads of talent, KXIP has fallen in every single season and they don’t start this year as the favourites as well. It is definitely too early to predict and nobody who dons the prediction hat can go right here. This is T20. IPL. Anything can happen.
Punjab will begin the season with a new captain who literally does every single role available in the game. KL Rahul will be opening the innings with Chris Gayle and they complement each other very well. KL Rahul will be having a few of his Karnataka teammates to follow him in the batting order. He knows them very well. He can make things work for sure.
Having said that, the team do not have a go-to Indian man when it comes to power-hitting and experience in the middle order. Things can go either way. IPL is meant to unearth talents and Punjab will be hoping for that. They have good overseas stars in the batting line-up though.
Glenn Maxwell, who is back to Punjab, is in good touch. He had 398 runs in BBL 2019 with a strike-rate of 148.50. Nicholas Pooran is the only player to score a ton in the CPL 2020. Sheldon Cottrell had 5 wickets from his 6 innings in the CPL 2020. Mujeeb Ur Rahman was the 2nd leading wicket-taker in the CPL 2020. James Neesham had a quiet 2020, blame the pandemic. Chris Jordan can prove vital with the ball.
Unfortunately, only four overseas players can play from this huge line-up. If Maxwell and Pooran are playing, while Rahman being a mandatory pick, Chris Jordan or Sheldon Cottrell might fill the spot.
There are some exciting talents waiting to do wonders. Darshan Nalkande is quick and targets the stumps better than any other bowler. He will be crucial.
Tajinder Singh Dhillon who was with Mumbai Indians two years ago is a good option for Punjab. He is a power-hitter and loves playing in the leg-side. He is tall, can rotate the strike well and has a strike-rate well over 140 in his domestic career.
Simran Singh was with the same team last year as well, played in a match and scored 16. He is yet another talent to look forward to.
The team do have a good amount of spinners(M Ashwin) and all-rounders(K Gowtham, Suchith) who can take the game away from the opponent on their day. Having said that, they cannot be reliable and can be marked as go-to as well. Now, that is the problem for KXIP. Again, it’s T20, anything can happen. A lot depends on Gayle and Rahul.
Squad: Chris Gayle, Mayank Agarwal, Karun Nair, Sarfaraz Khan, Mandeep Singh, Sheldon Cottrell, Ishan Porel, Ravi Bishnoi, Mohammed Shami, Mujeeb ur Rahman, Arshdeep Singh, Hardus Viljoen, M Ashwin, J Suchith, Harpreet Brar, Darshan Nalkande, Glenn Maxwell, James Neesham, Chris Jordan, Krishnappa Gowtham, Deepak Hooda, Tajinder Singh Dhillon, KL Rahul (C), Nicholas Pooran, Prabhsimran Singh.