Saturday, March 2, 2024

IPL Auctions 2021: Kings XI Punjab – Major Areas of Focus and Players They Should Target

The auctions for the fourteenth edition of the Indian Premier League are all set to happen on 19 February, with all eight teams likely to make some major buys in the mini-auctions. One of the three teams yet to win the IPL, Kings XI Punjab go into the auctions with one of the biggest purses left. They released some very big names ahead of the auctions which included the likes of Glenn Maxwell, Jimmy Neesham and Mujeeb Ur Rahman. Like every season, they are likely to see a huge change in squad, but the core remains more or less similar to last season.

As we near the auctions, here we look at the list of players retained, which areas they need to focus on and who should they target in the auctions:

PLAYERS RETAINED:  KL Rahul, Chris Gayle, Mayank Agarwal, Nicholas Pooran, Mandeep Singh, Sarfaraz Khan, Deepak Hooda, Prabhsimran Singh, Mohammed Shami, Chris Jordan, Darshan Nalkande, Ravi Bishnoi, Murugan Ashwin, Arshdeep Singh, Harpreet Brar, Ishan Porel.

PLAYERS RELEASED: Glenn Maxwell, Sheldon Cottrell, K Gowtham, Mujeeb ur Rahman, Jimmy Neesham, Hardus Viljoen and Karun Nair

Auction purse left: 53.2 CR

AREAS OF FOCUS:

Kings XI Punjab despite releasing as many as 7 major players have their core intact and can still form a very formidable unit with the retained players. However, there a few areas that they would like to improve upon:

Death Bowling:

Kings XI Punjab lack a proper death bowler except Chris Jordan. Mohammed Shami did perform decently last season but was on and off at the death. Arshdeep Singh did impress on a few occasions and showed a lot of promise, but lack of experience did hurt the team a number of times. They would therefore want another foreign pacer who they could rely on at the death, to either partner Jordan or be a worthy replacement if the Englishman is injured.

Middle Order:

With Glenn Maxwell, Jimmy Neesham and Karun Nair released, KXIP will want a decent middle order option to fit in the XI or atleast be a backup. While they have a number of options in Mandeep Singh, Deepak Hood and Sarfaraz Khan, none of them have been able to grab the opportunities or perform on a consistent basis. A middle order option who can give a couple of overs in the middle will be on the radar for KXIP.

Finger Spin:

After releasing Gowtham, Mujeeb and Maxwell, KXIP do not have an off-spinner in the squad at present. Going into the tournament without an offie might prove to be disastrous, as evident from CSK’s campaign in 2020 when they struggled to keep the left-handers in check. KXIP must look at decent off-spin options in the auctions to the bowling attack more versatile and suited against all kinds of opponents.

PLAYERS TO TARGET:

Based on the requirements and the players available in the auctions, here are a few players KXIP should target in the upcoming auctions:

Moeen Ali: With RCB releasing the English all-rounder and the skill set that he brings in, Moeen Ali is set to be one of the highly sought-after players in the upcoming auctions. Moeen being a left hander can partner Pooran in middle overs if needed to take on wrist spinners and can also be used as a finisher. Moreover, he provides almost 2-3 overs every game, making him an almost like-to-like replacement for Glenn Maxwell as far as role in the XI is concerned.

Jhye Richardson: One of the most impressive pacers in the recently concluded Big Bash League, Jhye Richardson is likely to attract high bids this season. The Aussie fast bowler who can score some quick runs down the order is known for his knack of wicket taking, both in powerplays as well as at the death. With Cottrell and Viljoen released, Richardson might prove to be the upgraded version of both of them, coming in with form on his side after finishing as the leading wicket-taker in the tenth edition of the BBL.

Kyle Jamieson: One of the finds of International cricket in 2020, New Zealand’s Kyle Jamieson has not set a foot wrong ever since his debut against India. Though he is yet to prove his worth in T20 cricket, Jamieson is just the kind of player KXIP need in their XI. A tall hit-the-deck bowler with genuine pace, with the ability to bowl at any stage of the game and a very capable lower order batsman with the ability to tonk the ball at will, Jamieson is sure to attract huge bids. With KXIP having so much of purse left, it will be difficult for others to outbid them for the Kiwi pacer this season.

Jalaj Saxena: KXIP need a decent off-spinner and there is hardly any option better than Jalaj Saxena available in domestic circuit. The experienced Jalaj Saxena had a decent season for Kerala in the recently concluded Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy. With so many teams in deperate need of off-spinners, it is probably time Jalaj finally makes his debut in the IPL after proving his worth consistently in domestic circuit for so long.

Gurkeerat Mann: That KXIP lack a proven finisher is no hidden fact. And with someone as experienced as Gurkeerat Mann available in the auctions, KXIP should target the local boy to fill in as the specialist finisher. Having played the role of a lower middle order batsman for most of his career and him being an Indian player makes his case stronger. Also, he can bowl some handy off-spin in middle overs, which serves the purpose of the sixth/seventh bowler in the XI.

Some of the other major names they could target include Mustafizzur Rehman, Jack Wildermuth, Colin de Grandhomme, Billy Stanlake.

Deepak Panda
Deepak Panda
Cricket Aficionado and Data freak, in love with the amalgamation of Data in the game of Cricket and having an impeccable zeal for inculcating statistical analysis in cricket. A business analyst by profession and a cricket analyst by passion, a believer that stats if used in the right way can provide immense amount of insights about the game and the players.
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