The IPL 2021 Auction is scheduled to be held on 18th February in Chennai. The list of the players released by the teams was revealed on 20th January and the pre-season trading window closed on 11th February. Now, the focus is on the acquisition of players and completion of the squad. Punjab Kings (PK) (formerly KXIP), who released a slew of big names, will be under the spotlight.
Players Released by Punjab Kings (PK) ahead of IPL 2021 Auction: Glenn Maxwell, Sheldon Cottrell, Krishnappa Gowtham, Mujeeb ur Rahman, Hardus Viljoen, James Neesham, Karun Nair, Jagadeesha Suchith, Tajinder Singh Dhillon
Players Retained by Punjab Kings (PK) ahead of IPL 2021 Auction: KL Rahul, Chris Gayle, Mayank Agarwal, Nicholas Pooran, Sarfaraz Khan, Deepak Hooda, Ravi Bishnoi, Arshdeep Singh, Mohammed Shami, Mandeep Singh, Ishan Porel, Harpreet Brar, Chris Jordan, Darshan Nalkande, Murugan Ashwin, Prabhsimran Singh
IPL 2021 Auction Purse: 53.20 Crores INR
Slots to fill: 9 (including 5 overseas)
Issues encountered by Punjab Kings in IPL 2020:
Punjab had problems at the end of the innings, both with bat and ball. In the death overs (namely overs 17-20) they scored at 9.9 runs an over, below the league average of 10.6 RPO and conceded 12.1 runs an over with the ball, again well over the league average.
They also had troubles with the ball in the Powerplay. They conceded 8.3 runs an over in the powerplay, which was the 2nd worst among all teams, marginally lower than Rajasthan Royals. They conceded 54 or more runs within the Powerplay 7 out of 14 times, ie. half the matches they played, they got off to a bad start.
What should be the strategy of Punjab Kings (PK) in the IPL 2021 Auction?
To solve their bowling woes, the Punjab management should target an attack leader as their primary objective in the mini-auctions. Seldom do you see a team having a successful campaign without a proper attack leader. Last season Mohammed Shami was their best pacer, and while he has transformed himself to accommodate T20 needs, he was wayward at times.
Also needed is a reliable overseas finisher. Glenn Maxwell was bought to fill this void the previous year and was not exactly reliable (13 inns, 108 runs, 0 sixes). He was given a long run on the basis of his potential, but eventually the management ran out of patience. Sticking with Maxwell also meant they couldn’t give enough game-time to their domestic finishers, Sarfaraz Khan and Deepak Hooda.
Potential targets for each slot:
1. Chris Morris:
There aren’t many proven death bowlers available in the player pool this time around, and Chris Morris is as good as they come. He had the best economy rate in the death overs in IPL 2020, better than Bumrah, Archer, Rabada. He also had the third best economy among pacers last IPL, behind only Archer and Bumrah.
Chris Morris’ finishing abilities with the bat have waned and he isn’t the same batsman he was in 2016-17 but is still capable of clearing the ropes against medium pace. He will be a hot pick at the auction, with a lot of teams eyeing him but Punjab should be able to acquire him given their purse.
2. Fabian Allen:
Fabian Allen might also fetch the big bucks in this mini-auction, given the limited finishers in the player pool. The Jamaican all-rounder has displayed his finishing skills in the CPL and T10, along with a few mouth-watering knocks in internationals. In his T20 career, he strikes at 159 while averaging 25 which in itself portrays the ability he possesses.
To go with his big-hitting, Allen also bowls left-arm orthodox and is a fine defensive T20 bowler. He’s also a livewire in the field, and looks to contribute in every department. For a team that doesn’t have enough all-rounders, Fabian Allen will be a perfect addition to the Punjab team.
Fabian Allen is one of the world’s most dangerous hitters in the death overs, returning the fourth highest strike rate in the history of the format in the last five overs of the innings. #NZvWI pic.twitter.com/1Y6SXP40hj
— The CricViz Analyst (@cricvizanalyst) November 27, 2020
3. Jhye Richardson:
Given the Powerplay woes KXIP suffered in IPL 2020, someone like Jhye Richardson – who can swing the new ball – could be a valuable pick for Punjab. In the recently concluded BBL, he was the leading wicket taker and was good in all phases of the innings.
Although IPL is a few notches tougher than BBL, Jhye has the skillset to do well. Moves the ball upfront, uses his variations in the middle overs and has a good yorker for the death overs.