IPL 7: Kings XI Punjab – Team Preview
Kings XI Punjab is one of the teams which has been a part of IPL since its inception. The franchise loves to remain in news, be it on-the-field, or off it. In the first edition of the cash-rich tournament, they rode on the performances of two southpaws – Kumar Sangakkara and Shaun Marsh – to start off their campaign on a high.
In the inaugural season, they reached till the semis, where their campaign was stopped by MS Dhoni-led Chennai Super Kings. But Shaun Marsh still remained the highest scorer of the edition, with a century and five fifties, at an impressive average of 68.44.
In the next edition, Punjab witnessed a major setback when they weren’t able to take the services of their Australian players due to their national commitments. It affected the team badly, as they couldn’t even make it to the semis. Though, the worst was yet to come.
In the third season of IPL, the team finished at the bottom to say the least, as they managed to win mere four games out of fourteen they played. It was time for some serious introspection. And to strengthen the team, the franchise owners once again showed confidence on Australian players and bought Adam Gilchrist and Michael Bevan in the side to make them the skipper and the coach respectively, before the start of next season. In IPL-4, even though the team performed far better than their last season, they still couldn’t make it to the play-offs. And it has become a jinx for the Punjab franchise, as they couldn`t reach that far in rest of the two IPL seasons as well, and remained a mediocre side of the league.
But during the IPL-7 auction, it looked as if the team management took its team quite seriously, as they showed enough maturity this time around while picking their players and even a new coach in Sanjay Bangar. First, they surprisingly retained Manan Vohra along with South African David Miller and then in the auction, took a few wise decisions that left them with a well balanced side. The franchise once again showed their love for Australian players as they bought George Bailey, Shaun Marsh, Glenn Maxwell and Mitchell Johnson.
In both the departments – batting and bowling – their team looks quite solid. In batting department, if they have match-winners in Virender Sehwag, Bailey, Marsh and Miller, then they have enough fire-power in their bowling as well. With Mitchell Johnson, Beuran Hendricks and Rishi Dhawan in their side, they have the potential to rip-apart any batting line up in the world. This is not all! They also have genuine all-rounders in Maxwell and Thisara Perera, who can change the course of the game single-handedly.
So if they play according to their potential, there is no reason why they can’t make it to the finals of upcoming edition of the league.
Key signings: George Bailey, Virender Sehwag, Shaun Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Thisara Perera, Mitchell Johnson.
Strength: The have typical Twenty20 players in their side, which makes them a deadly unit. In Mitchell Johnson, they have the most fearsome fast bowler in contemporary cricket, who is at the top of his game like most of the other players in the side.
Weakness: With players like Sehwag and Johnson in the team, it would be a challenge for George Bailey to deal with their temperaments and at the same time, get the best out of them. Team selection would be another issue, as most of the big players in the team are foreigners.
Indian players: Cheteshwar Pujara, Virender Sehwag, Manan Vohra, Wriddhiman Saha, Murali Kartik, L Balaji, Gurkeerat Singh, Mandeep Singh, Rishi Dhawan, Akshar Patel, Karanveer Singh, Shivam Sharma, Sandeep Sharma, Parvinder Awana, Anureet Singh, Shardul Thakur
Overseas players: George Bailey, Shaun Marsh, David Miller, Glenn Maxwell, Thisara Perera, Mitchell Johnson, Beuran Hendricks,
Probable playing eleven: Virender Sehwag, Manan Vohra, Cheteshwar Pujara, George Bailey, David Miller, Glenn Maxwell, Wriddhiman Saha, Rishi Dhawan, Mitchell Johnson, Murali Kartik, L Balaji.