IPL 2021: Punjab Kings Pre-Season Analysis

The Kings XI Punjab had a horrendous start to the tournament in 2020 having lost 6 games out of the first 7. Later on, they gave a good comeback winning 5 matches in a row before losing the next two. For this season, KXIP went the Delhi Capitals way and had a total revamp. They renamed themselves as Punjab Kings and also changed their jersey. With these changes, Punjab Kings will be now raring to make it to the Playoffs. So, how are they stacked ahead of the tournament? Let’s see:

Current squad:

KL Rahul (c & wk), Mayank Agarwal, Chris Gayle, Mandeep Singh, Prabsimran Singh, Nicholas Pooran (wk), Sarfaraz Khan, Deepak Hooda, Murugan Ashwin, Ravi Bishnoi, Harpreet Brar, Mohammed Shami, Arshdeep Singh, Ishan Porel, Darshan Nalkande, Chris Jordan, Dawid Malan, Jhye Richardson, Shahrukh Khan, Riley Meredith, Moises Henriques, Jalaj Saxena, Utkarsh Singh, Fabian Allen, Saurabh Kumar

Punjab Kings made some tough releases ahead of the auctions as part of their squad revamp. They released some big names like Glenn Maxwell, Sheldon Cottrell, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Krishnappa Goutham and James Neesham along with some other players.

Hopefully 2021 is the year that luck changes and Punjab Kings lift IPL  trophy, says Malan | Cricket News - Times of India

Dawid Malan will be an important addition this year (Image Source: Punjab Kings | Twitter)

New signings:

PBKS have signed in bowlers like Jhye Richardson and Riley Meredith to strengthen their bowling attack. They have also bought the hard-hitter Dawid Malan at just his base price. They have also signed in the Tamil Nadu batsman Shahrukh Khan for a hefty sum. Along with these big names, PBKS have added some other domestic players.

Strengths:

1. Strong Top-Order

Punjab Kings have one of the strongest batting lineup of this season. KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal open the batting followed by Chris Gayle. Then comes the West Indian batsman Nicholas Pooran who has played some memorable knocks for PBKS last season.

In case things don’t work out as expected, Dawid Malan can come into the team in place of Chris Gayle. That is a strong top-order!

Mayank Agarwal celebrates a century (Image Source: Punjab Kings | Twitter)

2. Fast Bowlers

PBKS have built a very strong fast bowling core for this season. Mohammad Shami will be leading the pace-attack this season. Shami had a memorable season last year. PBKS’ domestic pacer Arshdeep Singh was impressive last season though a little expensive. Apart from these two, PBKS might choose two overseas pacers between Chris Jordan, Riley Meredith and Jhye Richardson making it a lethal pace-attack. They also have Ishan Porel, who has been taking Indian domestic cricket by a storm, for back up.

Weaknesses:

1. Lack of Experienced Spinners

Last year, Punjab Kings’ spinner Ravi Bishnoi and Murugan Ashwin performed well for them. But, they also had Krishnappa Gowtham and Glenn Maxwell to support in the spin department. Both of them were released with no like-for-like replacements. This year, PBKS have added Jalaj Saxena, an experienced Indian spinner. However, the lack of international experience of all their spinners might cost them this season.

2. KL Rahul’s Strike-Rate

KL Rahul scored heavily in the last season. Along with Mayank Agarwal, he built some solid partnerships too. However, his strike-rate came under the scanner. He played with a strike-rate of only 129.34. Particularly, he has taken a lot of time to get going which has been problematic. Rahul’s strike-rate in 1-10 balls last season was 109 which might have to be improved now.

X-Factor

Nicholas Pooran had a poor start to the season last year. After going for a pair of ducks in the first match (one in the game and one in the super over), he went for two more ducks consecutively. After being backed well, he batted sensationally scoring 353 runs in the next 10 matches. His strike-rate has been impressive and he has been one hell of a finisher for KXIP. Can he do the same for his revamped team now? It will be interesting to see how will the opponents tackle him.

Nicholas Pooran hits a six (Image Source: Punjab Kings | Instagram)

Pre-Season Analysis: Royal Challengers BangaloreRajasthan Royals, Chennai Super Kings, Sunrisers Hyderabad, Delhi Capitals, Kolkata Knight Riders

Featured Image: Punjab Kings | Twitter

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