With just four months remaining for a fresh season of the Indian Premier League (IPL) to start, we at inUth are predicting the squad of the main franchises. Earlier, as a hardcore Delhi team fan, I predicted the Delhi Daredevils squad for the 11th season of IPL. Now, its time for Kings XI Punjab, my second favourite franchise in the cash-rich league.
Kings XI Punjab is jointly owned by Bollywood actress Preity Zinta, Wadia Group scion Ness Wadia, Dabur’s Mohit Burman and Karan Paul. Since its formation, Kings XI Punjab’s campaign has been on a roller-coaster from season to season. Apart from finishing as runners-up in the IPL 2014 season, the team has made only one playoff appearance in 2008.
Here’s their history:
2008: In this year, Indian cricketer Yuvraj Singh led KXIP side to the semi-finals. After losing their first two games, the team came back strongly and won 9 of its next 10 matches and made it to the semis. The team’s dream to lift the inaugural IPL ended after they lost to Chennai Super Kings by nine wickets in the semis.
2009: Following the absence of several foreign players from the squad, the Yuvraj Singh-led KXIP team finished 5th on the points table. During this season KXIP registered seven wins and as many losses.
2010: In 2010, Sri Lankan batsman Kumar Sangakkara was made the captain. Under new captain, KXIP squad managed to win just four out of their 14 matches and they finished last in the points table.
2011: Following a poor show in 2010, Australian wicket-keeper batsman Adam Gilchrist was appointed the captain of the re-structured KXIP team, with Michael Bevan as its head coach. They failed to qualify for the playoffs by just 2 points and finished 5th.
2012: In this season, KXIP found new sponsors on their jerseys as US Polo Assn replaced Reebok after 4 years of presence. However, they did not qualify for the playoffs yet again.
2013: With eight wins and eight losses from 16 matches, KXIP yet again finished in 6th position.
2014: In this season, many big names like Virender Sehwag, Glenn Maxwell and Mitchell Johnson made it into the playing XI under new skipper George Bailey. Punjab got off to a dream start, winning all of their first five games and they managed to make it to the finals for the first time. However, in the finals, even after posting 199, KXIP lost to KKR.
2015: Failing to capitalise on their superb show of 2014, KXIP finished 8th after they won just 3 of the 14 games.
2016: Team witnessed another captain change. David Miller and Murali Vijay captained the team in the first and second half. They finished 8th once again with only 4 victories under their belt.
2017: Virender Sehwag was appointed the head coach of the team. This time they performed bit well as compared to 2016 season and finished 5th.
After witnessing so many ups and down, as an ardent fan of the Punjab team, I picked a few players who I think can change the team’s fortunes.
Here’s the list:
Kane Williamson (Overseas) (NZ) – Captain
The right-handed batsman from New Zealand is the best choice as skipper for Kings XI Punjab. In T20 cricket, Williamson has scored over 4000 runs in about 170 matches. In IPL, Williamson has three 50s under his name. Due to his aggressive approach as a captain, New Zealand is currently among one of the best T20 teams in the world.
Ben Stokes (Overseas) (ENG) – All-rounder
Known for clearing grounds with ease, this all-rounder is a must in KXIP squad. Due to his consistent performance for England across all formats in cricket, Stokes became the highest paid overseas player in the history of the Indian Premier League in 2017. He fetched a record contract of Rs 145 million with Rising Pune Supergiants.
Hashim Amla (Overseas) (SA) – Batsman
KXIP management should retain this batsman from South Africa. In the 16 matches he played so far in IPL, this top-order batsman has scored 600 runs which included two centuries and three half-centuries.
Glenn Maxwell (Overseas) (AUS) – All-rounder
Current captain of KXIP franchise, Maxwell should remain with the side as he can play an important role in the team with both the bat as well as with the ball.
David Miller (Overseas) (SA) – Batsman
Former captain of KXIP, Miller could provide the team management with another option as an explosive batsman in the squad.
Prithvi Shaw (IND) – Batsman
Known for setting a record of 546 runs from 330 balls when he played for Rizvi Springfield in a Harris Shield match, this cricket prodigy is a must pick for KXIP. In his 7 first-class matches so far, Prithvi Shaw has scored 894 runs which include five 100s and two 50s.
Wriddhiman Saha (IND) – Wicket-keeper batsman
Current India’s Test wicket-keeper, Wriddhiman Saha is another key player which KXIP management should retain during the IPL 2018 auction. In 104 IPL matches so far, Saha has scored 1557 runs with one century and six 50s to his name.
Gurkeeret Singh Mann (IND) – Batsman, Unmukt Chand (IND) – Batsman, Robin Uthappa (IND) – Batsman, Rahul Tewatia (IND) – All-rounder, Amit Mishra (IND) – Bowler, Ishant Sharma (IND) – Batsman, Mohit Sharma (IND) – Batsman and Anureet Singh (IND)
Players like Unmukt Chand, Robin Uthappa, Ishant Sharma and Amit Mishra are the best picks for T20 cricket from the remaining Indian lot.
Imran Tahir (Overseas, SA)
Tahir is also must pick for the KXIP franchise.
Mentor- Virender Sehwag
Head Coach – Kumara Sangakkara
I hope in the 2018 edition, Kings XI Punjab lift the trophy and give us a reason to celebrate. Tell us who all will be in your dream squad?