Punjab Kings, previously known as Kings 11 Punjab is the next team that we are going to talk about in our auction preview series.
Punjab Kings has not been a very successful franchise in the IPL as they have managed to play the final only once out of 15 times where they lost to Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) back in 2014. They changed their name in February 2021, hoping that their fortunes will also change, but nothing like that happened. Punjab’s team management, the leadership group, has changed every season, providing zero stability in their dugout. Let’s see their squad and see what they need to do this time around to reach the IPL trophy.
Punjab Kings’ current squad is –
Shikhar Dhawan (c), Bhanuka Rajapaksa (overseas), Jitesh Sharma (wk), Jonny Bairstow (overseas), Prabhsimran Singh, Atharva Taide, Harpreet Brar, Liam Livingstone (overseas), Raj Angad Bawa, Rishi Dhawan, Shahrukh Khan, Arshdeep Singh, Baltej Dhanda, Kagiso Rabada (overseas), Nathan Ellis (overseas), Rahul Chahar.
The Punjab team has 16 players in their squad currently and can buy a maximum of 9 more players to play for them in the IPL 2023. They need to buy 2 more players to complete the minimum requirement of a squad in the Indian Premier League. They can buy 3 more overseas players too, out of the maximum 9.
They released some expensive players from their squad which left them with a purse of INR 32.2 crores to go into the auction. We will see their probable playing 11 and try to find out what all players they need to buy.
I think their newly appointed captain, Shikhar Dhawan will open the innings along with Jonny Bairstow, an explosive batter from England. They will most probably play Bhanuka Rajapaksa at three because their squad lacks quality Indian batters.
Liam Livingstone will play at 4 or 5, depending upon the situation. If he plays at one position of 4 or 5, one place is left and they need to find someone for that batting position. Shahrukh Khan will bat at 6 and play the role of a finisher. They need to find a player who can give you 4 overs every day and can hit the ball long in the death overs.
They can target someone like Sam Curran at the auction, who has played for them previously. At 8, Harpreet Brar will play as the left-arm spinner along with Rahul Chahar at 9 as another spinner. Arshdeep Singh and Kagiso Rabada will be their two proper fast bowlers at the end.
They will have one problem if they buy an overseas player for number 7, they will have to play an Indian batter in place of Rajapaksa at 3 and that could be Jitesh Sharma. They also need backup players for many positions in their 11.
It would be really interesting to see how Shikhar Dhawan fairs as a captain in the Indian Premier League after a long time. He will have some added responsibilities after the outgoing of Mayank Agarwal, the batter. Kagiso Rabada and Arshdeep Singh will be the two pillars of their bowling line-up in the upcoming IPL 2023.