Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) had a forgettable Indian Premier League (IPL) 2016 as they finished last in IPL Standings Table with just 4 wins. This year’s IPL Auction 2017 will be crucial for them as they will hope that their team at least makes it to the qualifiers of the tournament. They released four players who had a higher retaining price which seemed like a sensible decision at first but took a fall after Big Bash League (BBL) 2016-17. But we will get to that later, let’s look at the areas they will be willing to improve on come this year’s auction.
Who should KXIP focus on?
Punjab needs an Indian batsman to fill in their top order with who can attack if the team suffers from a few early breakthroughs. They should go for India’s domestic sensation, Ishank Jaggi who performed reasonably well in Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy. Jaggi was the third highest run-scorer in the tournament and also helped his team win the final with his quickfire inning.
Strike and death bowlers-
With Mitchell Johnson and Kyle Abbott released, they need a few bowlers to fill in their shoes. With money in their bank, they can bid furiously for two players— Chris Woakes, Kagiso Rabada and Trent Boult. These three bowlers have lethal pace and can be the spearhead of the bowling attack leading from the front and also help the team block runs in death overs.
Woakes is going to feature in IPL Auction for the first time. Woakes has proved himself as a disciplined fast bowler and a player who can be useful in the middle-lower order. He can solve KXIP’s problem of batting collapse by holding on to one end. He is capable of big hitting as well. KXIP’s deep purse might come in handy as they bid for him as franchisees are expected to fight for him.
Rabada is a complete bowler who can be as lethal he is in starting of the innings as well as in death overs. He has not been under focus before the auction. KXIP might get him for a lower price, buying him will be a good deal for them.
Trent Boult was released by Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH). Boult was seen warming benches in IPL 2016 as Bangladesh’s sensation Mustafizur Rehman had already occupied his berth. Boult has been in amazing form lately, he recently got a fifer in ODI series against Australia. KXIP might get the perfect man for the job, and for him they might not even have to bid higher.
KXIP were seen shuffling captains as they have changed leaders every now and then. Murali Vijay and David Miller have not worked out well for them. With England skipper Eoin Morgan released by SRH, they might just have a new leader for their team. Morgan can provide stability to the team. He has shown decent form lately, he was one of the batsmen who performed well on the Indian tour in 2017.
What did they do wrong?
Just sheer bad luck on their side, one would say as they released former Australian fast bowler Mitchell Johnson. It would be safe to say that Johnson was under-utilised in IPL 2016 by KXIP. Johnson was furious as he did not get enough chances to prove his worth, he played in 2 matches only last season.
Though, they soon realised that by releasing Johnson they made a big mistake. Johnson had a terrific BBL 2016-17 season for league winners Perth Scorchers. He bowled a record spell of 3 for 3 in his full quota of four overs. He was not happy with KXIP not giving him enough chances in the previous season. He will be a lethal weapon for any franchise, he gets picked up by.
Money in the bank:
Kings XI Punjab have the highest purse going into the IPL Player Auction as they have 23.35 crore at their disposal.
David Miller, Manan Vohra, Axar Patel, Glenn Maxwell, Gurkeerat Mann, Anureet Singh, Sandeep Sharma, Shardul Thakur, Shaun Marsh, Wriddhiman Saha, Murali Vijay, Nikhil Naik, Mohit Sharma, Marcus Stoinis, KC Kariappa, Armaan Jaffer, Pardeep Saha, Swapnil Singh, Hashim Amla
Mitchell Johnson, Rishi Dhawan, Kyle Abbott, Farhaan Behardien