Stabilizing the leadership, the key priority for Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) as we look at their strategy for IPL 2020 Auction.
Ahead of the IPL 2020 retention deadline of November 15, KXIP had yet another shot at their leadership. Firstly, they roped in Anil Kumble as their head Coach, and then they released their Captain, Ravichandran Ashwin from the squad.
Apart from the change in leadership, KXIP also released their most experienced player, David Miller, and some expensive players in the form of Sam Curran, Andrew Tye, and Varun Chakravarty. Barring the leadership chance, which may deemed unnecessary, KXIP have made some wise decisions in their list of released and retained players.
Overall, KXIP retained a total of 16 players ahead of the IPL 2020 Auction. This includes a solid Indian core and 4 overseas players in the form of Chris Gayle, Nicholas Pooran, Hardus Viljoen, and Mujeeb Ur Rahman.
The retained team looks good with focus on Indian players. However, this is still not a team that can win you the Tournament with some minor gaps to be addressed at the Auction.
So, what gaps Kings XI Punjab need to address? Let’s look the strategy Kings XI Punjab need to adopt for the IPL 2020 Auction.
Kings XI Punjab’s retained squad before IPL 2020 Auction:
Total Retained Players: 16 | Total Purse Available: INR 4270L
Batsmen: Karun Nair, KL Rahul (WK), Mandeep Singh, Mayank Agarwal, Nicholas Pooran (WK), and Sarfaraz Khan.
All-rounders: Chris Gayle, Darshan Nalkande, Harpreet Brar, and K Gowtham.
Bowlers: Arshdeep Singh, Hardus Viljoen, J Suchith, Mohammed Shami, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, and Murugan Ashwin.
#3: Finalize the Captain for IPL 2020
After trusting Ravichandran Ashwin in IPL 2018 and IPL 2019, Kings XI Punjab are once again back in the race to identify a fresh face for the Captaincy for IPL 2020.
With the situation they are in currently, KXIP have two options for the Captaincy. Either they look for the Captain from their existing bunch of retained players, or they purchase a player from IPL 2020 Auction with the primary role to Captain the side.
If KXIP look at the existing bunch of retained players, they have three players who look like a potential Captaincy material. “These are KL Rahul, Karun Nair, and Chris Gayle”. However, if they decide otherwise then they will have to hire from the likes of Aaron Finch, Jason Holder, Eoin Morgan, Joe Root, Robin Uthappa, etc.
Ideally, Kings XI Punjab should pass on the leadership baton to either of KL Rahul or Karun Nair. While KL Rahul has been their best batsman in the last two years, Karun Nair has proven leadership qualities having led the Karnataka domestic team over the years.
#2: Revamp the All-rounder Department
Kings XI Punjab released three all-rounders ahead of the IPL 2020 Auction in the form of Sam Curran, Moises Henriques, and Ravichandran Ashwin. In return, however, they did a good job by trading Krishnappa Gowtham from Rajasthan Royals.
But, with K. Gowtham being their only good all-rounder ( If Chris Gayle isn’t utilized as a bowler, which he generally isn’t), Kings XI Punjab have an enormous task ahead of IPL 2020 Auction to buy at least 2-3 good all-rounders.
Kings XI Punjab have plenty of options in this category. While the official player list isn’t out yet, they may have the likes of Colin de Grandhomme, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, James Neesham, Jason Holder, Rakheem Cornwall, etc., to target.
#1: Revamp the Pace Department
Post the release of Andrew Tye, Sam Curran, and Ankit Rajpoot, Kings XI Punjab are left with only two good pacers in the form of Mohammed Shami and Hardus Viljoen.
While Mohammed Shami is a sure shot starter in the playing 11, the same cannot be said about Hardus Viljoen. Hence, Kings XI Punjab’s would be on the hunt for Pace bowlers at the IPL 2020 Auction.
To safeguard themselves, Kings XI Punjab should look to purchase at least 2 good Indian pace bowlers and at least 1 overseas pace bowler. Looking at their home conditions, the addition of Dale Steyn, Pat Cummins, or Mitchell Starc would add wonders to their bowling line-up.
So, that’s the strategy Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) need to adopt at the IPL 2020 Auction.
Adesh Kothari is the founder of AK4Tsay1 Cricket.
Cricket to him is like what ‘Football is to Lionel Messi’, ‘Singing is to Lata Mangeshkar’, ‘Dancing is to Michael Jackson’, and what ‘Acting is to Clint Eastwood’.
Besides his effervescent love for Cricket, Adesh is an MBA by qualification.