Releasing the overpriced redundant players, and buying of a quality batting all-rounder, the to-do things for Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) before IPL 2020.
Led by a new leader, Ravichandran Ashwin, KXIP finished sixth on the points table in IPL 2019. On paper, they had a strong team with a minor gap of a batting all-rounder, but just like KKR, Kings XI Punjab were affected by some flawed team selection and poor resource utilization in IPL 2019.
They bought Varun Chakravarty, Andrew Tye, Karun Nair, Prab Simran Singh, and Mujeeb Ur Rahman for a whopping INR 8.4 Cr., 7.2 Cr., 5.6 Cr., 4.8 Cr., and 4 Cr., respectively. They spent nearly INR 30 Cr. to buy these 5 players, but they played only 14 matches in totality.
When you are paying such a hefty amount on these quality players, you expect them to play the maximum number of matches, if not all. It just goes on to show the confused mindset of the selectors while buying the players in the auction.
Nevertheless, now that IPL 2020 Trade Window is currently active, KXIP have a good chance to rectify their mistakes before they start their IPL 2020 campaign. So, let’s analyze the Kings XI Punjab’s squad, and see what decisions they need to take before IPL 2020.
KXIP SQUAD AHEAD OF IPL 2020 TRADE WINDOW:
Batsmen: David Miller, Karun Nair, KL Rahul(WK), Mandeep Singh, Mayank Agarwal, Nicholas Pooran(WK), Prabsimran Singh (WK), and Sarfaraz Khan.
All-rounders: Agnivesh Ayachi, Chris Gayle, Darshan Nikhade, Harpreet Brar, Moises Henriques, and Sam Curran.
Bowlers: Andrew Tye, Ankit Rajpoot, Arshdeep Singh, Hardus Viljoen, Mohammed Shami, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Murugan Ashwin, Ravichandran Ashwin, and Varun Chakravarthy.
#3: Release Ravichandran Ashwin | Price: INR 760L
There have been some talks of a potential transfer of Ravichandran Ashwin to Delhi Capitals. While the news isn’t confirmed as yet, it certainly does make sense from the KXIP point of view.
Performance wise, Ashwin did have a decent IPL 2019 taking 15 wickets from 14 matches, but it is his captaincy that attracted a lot of criticism. His poor team selection, poor resource utilization, and the mankading incident spread a lot of negativity around him.
While he should definitely be sacked from the captaincy, releasing him from the team would give them an option of playing Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Murugan Ashwin, and Varun Chakravarty more, which they should have done last year too.
So, as the new season begins, KXIP should make the decision of releasing Ravichandran Ashwin, and have a fresh start to the campaign by passing on the captaincy baton to KL Rahul, who has come of age in the shortest format of the game.
#2: Buy a Good Batting All-rounder
A batting all-rounder gives you those crucial 2-3 overs, and stabilizes your lower-order. King’s XI Punjab missed the services of the batting all-rounder last year, and it was evident from their performance.
Currently, Kings XI Punjab have only Moises Henriques in their squad as the named batting all-rounder, and If we compare him with the likes of Russell, Pollard, Hardik, Shakib, and even Narine, he stands nowhere to close to them.
Seeing the available good options, KXIP can look to buy any one of James Neesham, Fabian Allen, JP Duminy, or even Glenn Maxwell.
#1: Release Andrew Tye | Price: INR 740L
This may surprise few KXIP fans, but to be honest, neither was Andrew Tye utilized properly in IPL 2019, nor was he effective with the ball. In the 6 matches he played in IPL 2019, he could only take 3 wickets at an average of 77.66, and an economy rate of 10.6. Comparing this with his 2018 stats, where he won the purple cap, they look mediocre.
Moreover, KXIP have many quality overseas players such as Chirs Gayle, David Miller, Nicholas Pooran, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, and Sam Curran in the foray. They also have quality pacers like Mohammed Shami and Hardus Viljoen.
While it may not be wise to release Andrew Tye after 1 bad season, his utility as a bowler has decreased, and releasing him would give them the option to spend that hefty amount to buy a good overseas batting all-rounder.
So, these are the decisions that Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) need to take before IPL 2020.
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ALSO READ: IPL 2019: Kings XI Punjab Team Rating