Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) failed to reach the playoffs for the sixth consecutive season last year. Led by Lokesh Rahul, KXIP had a miserable start to their IPL 2020 campaign. However, they won a few matches on the bounce towards the end of the season. That was not enough for Punjab to qualify for the playoffs as they finished sixth in the group stage.
Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) released a few big names ahead of the IPL 2021 auction. Sheldon Cottrell who was bought for a whopping INR 8.5 crores by KXIP in the previous auction, has been released by the franchise. Glenn Maxwell, Australian all-rounder was another big name to be released by Punjab.
Released: Glenn Maxwell, Karun Nair, Hardus Viljoen, Jagadeesha Suchith, Mujeeb ur Rahman, Sheldon Cottrell, Jimmy Neesham, Krishnappa Gowtham, Tajinder Singh.
Squad: KL Rahul (c), 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
Slots Remaining:9 (5 overseas)
KXIP enter the auction with the biggest purse of Rs. 53.20 crore. Here are the five players the franchise can target in the upcoming auction:
Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) released Sheldon Cottrell ahead of the auction. Chris Jordan and Mohammed Shami are the only two recognized pacers remaining in their squad. Mitchell Starc will be one of the top targets for Punjab in the auction. The Australian pacer is expected to sell for a huge price. However, Punjab have a purse of over Rs.50 crores and they are expected to outbid other franchises.
Mitchell Starc can open the bowling alongside Mohammed Shami with Chris Jordan taking charge of the second spell. A pace bowling troika of Shami, Jordan and Starc will make KXIP one of the most feared teams in the 2021 season.
Chris Morris was released by Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) despite several match winning performances towards the end of the last season. Chris Morris will be targeted by KXIP who will look to replace Maxwell with another experienced all-rounder. Additionally, Morris is a renowned death over specialist and can strike a few blows with the bat as well.
Another overseas pacer, Kings XI Punjab can target in the upcoming auction is Jhye Richardson. The Australian pacer had a terrific BBL season where he picked up 27 wickets in his 14 outings at an average of 13.30. Richardson was also named in the Australian T20I squad which will tour New Zealand in February. Mohammed Shami and Richardson can combine to form a good bowling pair alongside the likes of domestic talents like Arshdeep Singh and Harpreet Brar.
The tall Kiwi pacer, Kyle Jamieson has surprised one and all after his debut last year. Jamieson has established himself as a regular in the Kiwi playing XI in almost all three formats. KXIP can consider bringing in Jamieson provided he is exceptional with the ball and can strike a few hefty blows with the bat as well.
Shakib Al Hasan
Punjab have a formidable top order with Lokesh Rahul and Mayank Agarwal opening the innings. Towards the back-end of last season, Chris Gayle came at number three, followed by Nicholas Pooran at number four. Shakib Al Hasan can be a perfect fit at KXIP given his flexibility to move up and down the middle order. Additionally, he can even bowl a full quota of four overs. With Shakib in the lineup, KXIP have a trustworthy player who can guide them to a decent finish.