Chandigarh: Kings XI Punjab coach Sanjay Bangar says the focus of his side is to get the best out their players in the Champions League Twenty20 as they prepare to take on Hobart Hurricanes in a Group B match, here tomorrow.
Riding on their strong batting line-up, Kings XI put up their best ever performance in the IPL, finishing runners up in the 2014 season.
"All the teams that have joined the league stage are very, very strong. I've said this before IPL also (that) all eight teams were evenly balanced because of the re-auction and shuffling of players. So no team can be taken lightly.
"We respect our opponents but our focus is, we look inwards. We try to do things best of our abilities, how best we can try and reach our benchmarks," he said on the eve of tomorrow's match in Mohali.
Kings XI depends on Australian players with the likes of skipper George Bailey, Glenn Maxwell and Mitchell Johnson forming the core of the team, with some explosive batsmen such as Virender Sehwag, David Miller, besides Indian players Wriddhiman Saha, Manan Vohra and Rishi Dhawan, making the batting line-up quite strong.
However, Punjab's bowling unit seems to lack teeth as there is still uncertainty over the participation of strike bowler Johnson, who is yet to get a clearance from Cricket Australia.
"We are still awaiting Mitch's clearance," Bangar said.
Apart from Johnson, Kings XI have some good bowlers in Lakshmipathy Balaji and Sri Lanka's Thisara Perera.
"Thisara is a quality player. He is a very, very dangerous player. We are glad that we are in a position to utilise his potential to the fullest. Last season, he was available to us only for four games. But even in those four games, we couldn?t find a place for him because of the four bowlers we were opting for.
"I think it is a huge opportunity for us. All along the IPL 7, we knew that we were going to miss his services. He is going to be available fully to us. It is an opportunity for him to stake a claim on a regular basis," Sanjay Bangar said.
Asked about selecting youngsters in the auction, Bangar said the bottom-line was to give chances to the players who were hungry to succeed.
"Whether they were experienced or inexperienced, it did not matter for us. The team had to be picked with a three-year horizon. It had to be a blend of both. And we just thought of finding a balance between the two," Bangar said.
He also had words of praise for young domestic players in the side, saying "some of our players have truly progressed, raised their levels. Guys like Mandeep Singh, who hasn?t got much opportunities, he has really worked very hard. He is ready. And I just feel that even he could turn out to be a match-winner for us if he gets the opportunity."
The Hurricanes, captained by Tim Paine, have some experienced players such as Doug Bollinger, Ben Hilfenhaus, Pakistan skipper Shoaib Malik and left-armer Xavier Doherty, who will be handling the responsibility.