Kings XI Punjab has been one of the only three teams to never win the IPL. Punjab finished in the bottom half at the 6th place in 2019.
Openers biggest takeaway
Punjab only had a few positives to look back at in the previous season. Star batsman KL Rahul was their highest run-scorer with 593 runs. His opening partner Chris Gayle also had a good season. The ‘Universe Boss’ ended with 490 runs from 13 games. Mayank Agarwal followed with 332 runs. Senior players Mohammad Shami (19 wickets) and Ravichandran Ashwin (15 wickets) impressed with the ball. However, KXIP let go of Ashwin trading him off to Delhi Capitals.
The middle-order crisis
The middle-order crisis was a big issue for Punjab. The likes of Sarfaraz Khan, Mandeep Singh, Karun Nair could not do much. To make matters worse, even their power hitters failed down the order. David Miller and Nicholas Pooran, known for the big hits, could not deliver. Due to this, despite good starts at the top, Punjab failed to capitalise.
Bowling a major concern
Also, Punjab had the second-worst bowling attack in the 2019 season. Andrew Tye, who won the purple cap in 2018, had a miserable 2019 season. The Aussie quick could only pick 3 wickets in 6 matches. He leaked runs at a poor economy of 10.59. Hardus Viljoen (9.65), Sam Curran (9.79) and Varun Chakravarty (11.67) also had worse economy rates.
KXIP is looking to go on a complete overhaul this season. The first step was the appointment of Anil Kumble as Director of Cricket Operations and Head Coach. Punjab is looking to rebuild its side in upcoming auctions on 19th December.
Who will lead Punjab in 2020 IPL?
With Ravichandran Ashwin parting ways, Punjab will have to look for a new skipper. While it is speculated that KL Rahul will lead the side, the options are still open. Within the side, Karun Nair seems the only potential option. However, they will look to target the likes of Aaron Finch and Eoin Morgan in the auctions. Along with captaincy, they can also provide the firepower with the bat.
The middle-order :
Punjab has an Indian core in the middle order. But none of them made an impact last season. In such a scenario, Punjab needs an overseas batsman in the middle order. Eoin Morgan, Shimron Hetmyer, Jason Roy, Alex Carey, Rassie Dussen etc will be on the target. David Miller and Nicholas Pooran could not provide the firepower which they desperately need.
Punjab lacks a foreign all-rounder who can provide them with the balance. The focus will be on fast bowling all-rounders with the power-hitting ability. James Neesham, Jason Holder, Glenn Maxwell, Carlos Brathwaite, Marcus Stoinis, Chris Morris are the available options for Punjab.
Indian and foreign bowlers :
Punjab had the second-worst bowling attack last season. Looking at the spin department, Ashwin was the only successful spinner. However, with Ashwin no longer in the side, Punjab will need a lead spinner. Leg-spinner Piyush Chawla can play the role of Punjab.
The pace department also requires a revamp. Ankit Rajpoot, Andrew Tye, Hardus Viljoen failed to deliver. Punjab will require an Indian pacer alongside Shami. G Periyaswamy, Jaydev Unadkat, Mohit Sharma, Barinder Sran, Ishan Porel are a few options.
A foreign pacer who can spearhead the attack is the biggest need for KXIP. They will definitely be eyeing the likes of Starc, Cummins, Cottrell, and Mark Wood. Dale Steyn, Chris Woakes, Liam Plunkett, Oshane Thomas, Matt Henry etc are the other available options.
KXIP goes into the auction with a whopping purse of INR 42.70 Crores. With a big amount in the kitty, they can successfully rebuild their side in the auctions.
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