Punjab Kings (PBKS) failed to qualify for the IPL playoffs for a sixth consecutive season last year as the franchise managed to finish only on the sixth spot. Reeling at the bottom of the table at one point in time, it seemed as if there was no light at the end of the tunnel. However, their fortunes took a turn and they managed to win close encounters.
KL Rahul, skipper of Punjab Kings had another outstanding season with the bat, winning the Orange Cap after scoring 670 runs in his 14 outings. The franchise released Glenn Maxwell and Sheldon Cottrell ahead of the IPL 2021 auction, but made some key reinforcements in the auction. Riley Meredith, Jhye Richardson and Dawid Malan were some of the overseas players bought by the franchise.
Overseas players in Punjab Kings squad for IPL 2021
Chris Gayle, Chris Jordan, Jhye Richardson, Riley Meredith, Moises Henriques, Dawid Malan, Fabian Allen
Dawid Malan, the world’s top ranked ICC T20 batsman is expected to get the nod over Chris Gayle for a place in the starting eleven. The Englishman is coming on the back of series against India and as such, he is already well-accustomed to the conditions. This will be Dawid Malan’s first season in IPL and he is expected to come up with the goods.
However, Chris Gayle is expected to feature in the team at some point in the season. Hence, the pressure will be on Dawid Malan to deliver on a consistent basis. He has played plenty of domestic T20 cricket, scoring 6265 runs in 228 games at an average of 33.32.
Nicholas Pooran had an impressive IPL 2020 campaign where he scored 353 runs in his 14 innings at an average of 35.30 and a staggering strike rate touching the 170s.
The West Indian batsman is one of the most exciting batsman in world cricket currently and has the ability to wreck havoc if he gets going. Pooran is expected to come in at number four for Punjab Kings this season. This will be just his third IPL season, having made his debut in 2019, when he scored 168 runs in his seven innings.
Jhye Richardson was roped in by Punjab Kings at the auction and is all set to make his IPL debut this season. The Australian is an exciting prospect whose career has been derailed due to injuries. However, he is back to his best as he ended as the highest wicket-taker in the KFC Big Bash League 2020-21. His performances in BBL is considered to have been the main reason for Punjab Kings’ choice to go after him at the auction. The Aussie pacer will replace Sheldon Cottrell at the franchise, who had a dismal season last year and was released prior to the auction.
It will be a toss up between Riley Meredith and Chris Jordan for the final overseas spot in the playing eleven. However, the English pacer is an experienced campaigner and given his efficiency in the death overs, he is expected to get the nod over Meredith. Moreover, Punjab Kings are not likely to go in with two new signings and the acquisition of Riley Meredith is considered to be a long term investment. Chris Jordan played nine matches last season, picking up as many wickets at an average of 33.77.