Still searching for their first title, Punjab Kings (formerly known as Kings XI Punjab) went into the auction with the biggest purse. They had a fairly decent campaign last season but failed to seal a place in the playoffs. They had a clear plan coming to the auction as they released a host of players before the auction. They released some big names, including Glenn Maxwell, Karun Nair, Mujeeb-ur-Rahman, Krishanppa Gowtham, and Sheldon Cottrell.
While they had a settled set of players, they need to fill in many gaps in the auction. The biggest concern was the lack of pace battery, and Punjab Kings have heavily invested in two Australian pacers – Jhye Richardson and Riley Meredith. The Kings from Punjab also added Dawid Malan, Shahrukh Khan, Moises Henriques, Fabian Allen, Jalaj Saxena, Saurabh Kumar, and Utkarsh Singh.
Punjab Kings Full Squad for IPL 2021
KL Rahul, Nicholas Pooran, Ishan Porel, Sarfaraz Khan, Chris Gayle, Mayank Agarwal, Mandeep Singh, Murugan Ashwin, Deepak Hooda, Mohammed Shami, Chris Jordan, Dawid Malan, Jhye Richardson, Shahrukh Khan, Riley Meredith, Moises Henriques, Jalaj Saxena, Ravi Bishnoi, Harpreet Brar, Prabhsimran Singh, Darshan Nalkande, Arshdeep Singh, Utkarsh Singh, Fabian Allen, and Saurabh Kumar.
Openers – KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal
Punjab Kings have a settled opening combination in KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal. Both openers complimented really well and looked at their menacing best last season. Skipper KL Rahul was the Orange Cap winner with 670 runs in 14 matches at an outstanding average of 55.83. On the other hand, Mayank Agarwal added 424 runs in 11 matches, striking at a rate of over 156. The Mohali-based franchise has no reason to tweak with their opening combination.
Middle Order – Chris Gayle, Dawid Malan, Nicholas Pooran, and Shahrukh Khan
The ‘Universe Boss’ Chris Gayle is likely to play at the number 3, where he impressed everyone last season. The swashbuckling batsman had a great IPL 2020, where he scored 288 runs in 7 matches at a strike rate of 137.14.
The English batsman Dawid Malan is expected to replace Glenn Maxwell in the playing 11. Malan would add a ton of experience as he comes with a lot of reputation to this format. He is the numero uno T20I batsman, and his presence would help KL Rahul play his natural game.
Nicholas Pooran is likely to play at the number 5 for the Punjab Kings. He is arguably the most destructive batsman in the world at the moment. He is the x-factor of the Punjab Kings line-up, and the team management would hope for another great season from their left-handed southpaw. Pooran scored 353 runs in 14 matches last season at a strike-rate of almost 170.
Another addition to the squad, Shahrukh Khan, is expected to play the finisher’s role for Punjab Kings. Tamil Nadu’s all-rounder comes with a reputation for using a long handle towards the innings’ end. He also could bowl handy off-spinners, which prompted the team management to shell out big bucks for him in the auction. In Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy 2021, Khan scored 88 runs in 4 innings at a strike rate of 220.
Spinners – Ravi Bishnoi and Murugan Ashwin
Two leg-spinners would lead the spin attack of the Punjab Kings in the IPL 2021. Both leg-spinners had a decent campaign last season, and they would only look to improve in 2021. Both the spinners have been hugely benefitted by the presence of legendary Anil Kumble in the dug-out. Young leggie Ravi Bishnoi had a breakthrough season in 2020. He picked up 12 wickets in 14 matches at a great economy rate of 7.37. Meanwhile, Murugan Ashwin accounted for 10 wickets in 9 matches bowling at an economy rate of 7.46. The duo once again would handle the spin-bowling duties for the side.
Both spinner also had a decent Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy where Ravi Bishnoi represented Rajasthan, while Murugan Ashwin was a part of the Tamil Nadu squad. Bishnoi picked up 11 wickets in 7 matches in the premier domestic T20 tournament, bowling at an economy rate of 5.75. Murugan Ashwin wasn’t far behind his partner as he also scalped 10 wickets in 8 matches at an economy rate of below 7.
Pacers – Jhye Richardson, Mohammad Shami, and Arshdeep Singh
Jhye Richardson is likely to be the overseas pacer for Punjab Kings ahead of Chris Jordan. The Kings signed him at a whopping price of 14 crores. It could prove to be a great signing as Richardson had a great Big Bash League season. He finished as the top wicket-getter in the BBL with 29 wickets in 17 matches at a strike rate of 12.1.
Mohammad Shami emerged as the leader of the Punjab King’s bowling attack last season. Who could forget his heroics against Mumbai Indians, where the Bengal-born pacer defended 5 runs in the super over. Shami clinched 20 wickets in 14 matches, and he once again would be the main weapon for the Kings from Punjab.
Arshdeep Singh proved to be a great addition to the Punjab Kings as he developed into a decent death bowler last season. The team management would like to persist with the youngster as he has the ability to bowl yorkers consistently at the death. Arshdeep Singh finished with 9 wickets in 8 matches last season at an economy rate of 8.77despite bowling the difficult overs.