Punjab Kings hope to go on a prowl amidst a new beginning
IPL is on the verge of its return, and the fans are excited to watch their local teams play in normal circumstances outside the bubble. This means that the Punjab Kings return to Mohali!
The Punjab kings enter the 2023 season with a ray of hope. Over the years, the Kings have failed to maximize their potential as a team. They have not been able to grab their hands on any silverware.
The kings are one of the four teams – Lucknow Super Giants, Royal Challengers Bangalore, Punjab Kings, and Delhi Capitals – that are yet to win the coveted IPL trophy. The quest for silverware begins on the first of April, as they host Kolkata Knight Riders in Mohali.
They have failed to qualify for the playoffs since finishing runners-up in 2014. Ahead of every season, the management splashes cash on the players, but the team fails to click on the pitch with the season ending in disappointment.
Shikhar Dhawan would look to manage his troops to a place in the top end of the table, along with seasoned campaigners in Sam Curran and Jonny Bairstow. In this article, we preview the Punjab Kings squad ahead of the 2023 IPL season.
A look at Last Season’s performance
The Punjab Kings only managed a sixth-placed finish on the points table at the end of last season. They had seven wins and as-many losses to show for their hard work. The Kings were tipped for a finish in the top four at one point in the season, but their failure to operate as a team led to them finishing where they did.
They were inconsistent and never won consecutive matches throughout the last season. The best player for the Punjab Kings was Jitesh Sharma, while Arshdeep Singh also impressed the fans and selectors.
The most-talked-about transfer at the auction table was that of the English superstar Sam Curran. The Kings went all-out to ensure the homecoming of the All-Rounder, as they paid a whopping sum of Rs. 18.5 Crores to secure his services.
The first Zimbabwean to ever play in the IPL, Sikandar Raza, will don the red jersey of the Punjab Kings in the 2023 IPL. They bought him for Rs. 50 Lacs.
The 31-year-old left-handed batsman Harpreet Singh Bhatia was acquired at Rs. 40 Lacs after facing competition from Kolkata Knight Riders.
The Kings also signed some uncapped Indian Players – Vidwath Kaverappa, Mohit Rathe, and Shivam Singh at the base price of Rs. 20 Lacs.
Predicted Playing XI
Prabhsimran Singh, Shikhar Dhawan ©, Johnny Bairstow, Liam Livingstone, Jitesh Sharma, Shahrukh Khan, Sam Curran, Kagiso Rabada, Harpreet Brar, Arshdeep Singh, Rahul Chahar.
Foreign Core: The biggest strength of the Kings this season is their foreign core. The likes of Liam Livingstone, Sam Curran, and Kagiso Rabada are all matchwinners. On their day, they can dismantle the opposition with their skills and talent.
Pace-Bowling Unit: The firepower of Arshdeep Singh, Kagiso Rabada, and Sam Curran can cause headaches to any top-order in the world. With the inclusion of the English all-rounder, Rabada can now bowl his overs in the powerplay.
Arshdeep and Curran can cause a threat in the death overs. They also have the young duo of Nathan Ellis and Raj Bawa as backups and can be called upon whenever need be.
Explosive middle-order: In the past few seasons, the Kings have struggled to cause havoc in the death-overs resulting in low totals which often come back to haunt the Mohali-based franchise.
This season, the Kings have Livingstone, Rajapaksa, Shahrukh Khan, Rishi Dhawan, Curran, and Jitesh Sharma in their arsenal. All of them are explosive batters and play an exciting brand of aggressive cricket.
Spin-bowling options: One of the weaknesses in the Punjab Kings squad, is the lack of depth and talent in their spin-bowling department. Apart from Rahul Chahar and Harpreet Brar, the Kings do not have an established Indian spinner.
The absence of quality Indian backups could be concerning on pitches like Chepauk. Although Livingstone could give you a few overs every match, he is not a tested option in the Indian conditions.
Lack of depth in middle order: One of the biggest concerns for Bayliss and his staff could be to adjust the middle order. After taking a glance at the squad, one would realize the absence of an experienced batsman at number three.
Bairstow could be seen playing in an unusual position in the batting order. Prabhsimran Singh and Dhawan could open, followed by Bairstow at one-down. It could cause worries if this gamble does not work in the team’s favor.
Over-reliance on English Players: One of the weaknesses of the Punjab Kings could be the over-reliance on English players. The trio of Bairstow, Livingstone, and Curran is the X-Factor of this side. The Kings could be caught napping if the ECB decides to call its players back from the IPL to rest them for the Ashes.
Absence of quality Indian batters: The lack of depth in quality Indians in the batting line-up could cost the Punjab Kings. They have not been able to replace the likes of Mayank Agarwal.
Prabhsimran Singh, Jitesh Sharma, and Shahrukh Khan are experienced in the domestic circuit. The management should have acquired the signature of Ajinkya Rahane as a backup.
The past seasons have all been disappointing for the Kings, and this season looks to be one of that lot as well. With the lack of depth in certain areas, the Kings could struggle in case of injury. The squad is over-dependent on foreigners bailing the team out of dangerous situations. The presence of the Indian core is vital to any side wanting to win the championship.
If Livingstone, Curran, and Rabada perform to their abilities, the squad could progress to the knockout rounds. The fans would hope for a fairytale comeback as the team returns to play on home soil in Mohali.