A team which has underachieved throughout their history in the IPL, Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) have to improve on their below-par performances if they wish to change their fortunes in the 13th edition of the IPL.
Photo credit: India Today
In the past editions, the sides have always looked good enough to win the title with some of the best in the business – the likes of Virender Sehwag, Chris Gayle, David Miller, Glenn Maxwell being part of the team, yet falling short on most occasions.
This is reflected in their record in past editions where they have managed to qualify for the playoffs in just 2 of the 12 editions they have been part of. Underwhelming stats for any team.
The team has undergone a change of captaincy after letting go of R. Ashwin and handing over the responsibilities to KL Rahul. He will be running the show for the first time under the guidance of Indian great Anil Kumble. It will be interesting to see how both the men from Karnataka link up in an aid to change the fortunes of KXIP.
The core Indian players retained by the franchise include Mayank Agarwal who has been performing consistently and will be looking to once again leave a mark with his exploits. In Karun Nair, Sarfaraz Khan, Mandeep Singh and Deepak Hooda, the team will have some much-needed stability in the middle order.
When it comes to overseas stars, KXIP have Chris Gayle and Glenn Maxwell who are as good as they come in the shorter format. On their day, they pack the power to decimate any team single-handedly. Nicholas Pooran is coming on the back of a strong CPL so it will be interesting to see how he performs this year.
All-Rounders Chris Jordan and James Neesham will provide valuable options to the team with contributions with the bat and ball.
The pace attack will be lead by Indian star Mohammad Shami who will have the support of Sheldon Cottrel. KXIP will hope they both provide an early breakthrough and let the likes of Mujeeb and Ravi Bishnoi spin their webs around the opposition batting lineup.
Photo credit: Times of India
The likes of KL Rahul, Chris Gayle, Glenn Maxwell will have to be at their best if KXIP hope to get rid of their “underachievers” tag. It’s high time the lions from Punjab get their act together and get the much-awaited trophy home.
My prediction: 8th