For the last couple of years, Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) haven’t been shy to go out and spend big money on certain players. In 2018 and 2019, they boasted of a strong side and this year, it’s no different.
The Mohali-based franchise have bought some big names in this year’s auction and they seem to have plugged in a few holes which haunted them last year. Glenn Maxwell was their biggest buy as they spent a stunning INR 10.75 crore to avail his services.
Sheldon Cottrell was another big buy as he was bought for INR 8.5 crore. The likes of Chris Jordan, James Neesham and Deepak Hooda also found a place in the KXIP squad. So let’s find out how the KXIP Playing XI could look like in IPL 2020.
Also Read: IPL 2020: 3 Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) Players who can win the Orange Cap in UAE | Most runs in IPL 2020
Probable KXIP Playing XI for IPL 2020
KL Rahul (c & wk)
Right at the end of the auction, it was announced that Rahul will be leading KXIP in the 2020 season. The Karnataka opener has been KXIP’s premier batsman over the last couple of seasons. He was bought for a whopping sum of INR 11 crore and he’s repaid the faith imposed by the franchise. In the last two seasons, Rahul has scored 1252 runs at an average of 54.43 and a strike-rate of 146.60.
Apart from Rahul, Gayle is the only other player who has been consistent with the bat over the last couple of years. The big Jamaican opener was bought in the final round in the 2018 auctions at his base price. He’s amassed 858 runs at an average of 40.86 and has a strike-rate of 150.26 across 2018 and 2019. The Universe Boss is likely to open the batting with the newly-appointed skipper.
2018 was a horrid year as far as the IPL is concerned for Mayank Agarwal. However, he hit back hard in the 12th edition. The Karnataka batsman batted at No. 3 for a large part and was pretty consistent. He made 332 runs and was striking at 141.88 last season. Agarwal will continue to bat at No. 3 next season as well.
After a year’s break, Glenn Maxwell is back in the IPL fold and is back with KXIP. For four seasons, he was a critical part of the side but was released ahead of the 2018 season. He played for Delhi for one season and now, has returned to the Punjab side. Moreover, he recently took a break from cricket to recover from mental illness and looks fresh and recharged. Maxwell adds some much-needed depth in the KXIP middle order.
Nicholas Pooran may have scored 168 runs across six innings in the 2019 season. However, he did show what he is capable of. He can be very destructive in the middle order and can don the finisher’s hat. The left-hander can also don the gloves if Rahul decides to play as a pure batsman. Hence, Pooran is a very dynamic cricketer in the side and could be a game-changer.
This position may be a tricky call. KXIP have quite a few options to choose from. Mandeep Singh was their preferred choice last season and he played 13 games. The Punjab right-hander made 165 runs in 12 innings but was not out on eight instances. He was striking at 137.50. Sarfaraz Khan and Deepak Hooda might give him some tough competition but Mandeep might just pip them to start in the XI.
KXIP have lacked batting depth over the last couple of years. Ravichandran Ashwin and Sam Curran have often occupied this No. 7 role. However, next season, it is likely going to be Krishnappa Gowtham as he was a part of a trade with Rajasthan Royals (RR). The Karnataka all-rounder has been in fine form with both bat and ball. He can be the match-winner and impact player for KXIP.
This is another slot where there will be quite a bit of debate. KXIP bought Sheldon Cottrell for a stunning sum of INR 8.5 crore. Meanwhile, they also got Chris Jordan and he came at a bargain price of INR 3 crore. Hence, it will be a toss-up between the two. Jordan is a better death bowler while Cottrell might provide them with wickets upfront as well. Thus, Cottrell might be the one they go with at the start.
Mohammed Shami is the premier and the only capped Indian pacer in the KXIP squad. He will most likely lead the attack. He had a good season in 2019 where he picked up 19 wickets from 14 games. It was also the first time when Shami played all games in an IPL season.
Last season, Murugan Ashwin played 10 games for KXIP but he was the second or the third with Ravichandran Ashwin and Mujeeb Ur Rahman leading the way. However, next season, he might well be KXIP’s lead spinner alongside Gowtham. With most teams playing a wrist-spinner, Ashwin will hope to make an impact.
KXIP have a few uncapped Indian pacers in the ranks and might want to rotate them as per the conditions and form as well. However, at the start of the tournament, it might be Arshdeep Singh and Ishan Porel fighting it out to make it to the XI. The former played three games last season and picked three wickets. Meanwhile, this will be Porel’s maiden IPL season. The Bengal pacer has done well in the recent past and might get the nod ahead of Arshdeep.
KXIP Full Squad for IPL 2020: Chris Gayle, Mayank Agarwal, Karun Nair, Sarfaraz Khan, Mandeep Singh, Sheldon Cottrell, Ishan Porel, Ravi Bishnoi, Mohammed Shami, Mujeeb ur Rahman, Arshdeep Singh, Hardus Viljoen, M Ashwin, J Suchith, Harpreet Brar, Darshan Nalkande, Glenn Maxwell, James Neesham, Chris Jordan, Krishnappa Gowtham, Deepak Hooda, Tajinder Singh Dhillon, KL Rahul (C), Nicholas Pooran, Prabhsimran Singh