The team entering into IPL 10 with its 10th skipper Glenn Maxwell, Kings XI Punjab has been one of those sides that have mostly faced disappointment throughout, except the 2014 edition when they had an amazing run with Bailey as their captain. With Murali Vijay injured, they had very limited options whether to go back to Miller or try out a new one.
This time, the kings look good on paper with a good set of foreign players. They have plenty of hard hitters in their squad and a good balance in the bowling department as well. With some smart buys at the auction, and Sehwag helming the affairs, things could finally brighten up for them.
Their top order looks as solid as rock never before. Manan Vohra, one of the retained players of Kings XI who prefers the batting style of his coach, will be a cracker at the top along with Hashim Amla or Guptill. At number 3, they have Eoin Morgan who has had success in the shorter format all over the globe, could be the backbone of Punjab. Followed by skipper Maxwell and the dangerous David Miller, they have a middle order that can finish games with consummate ease. All rounders Darren Sammy and Marcus Stoinis will be the key players providing them depth in batting while chipping in with important overs when one of the main bowlers is hit for a few.
Another team with a majority of Indian bowlers has a variety of talents to try out from. Sandeep Sharma who had a decent run last year will be opening the bowling along with Tamil Nadu’s yorker specialist T.Natrajan, whose brilliant show in the Tamil Nadu Premier League got him a ticket to the IPL. Axar would be expected to be their main spinner with Cariappa warming the bench.
Looks solid on paper but they have to get their combinations right. The team management would have their hands full with the bundle of foreign players. With Maxwell and Miller selected mandatorily, it would be interesting to see if they go for all rounders or to strengthen their batting further. They also lack a quality fast bowler who can hit the deck hard and bowl at the death. Maxwell who has only 3 50+ score in 43 innings is not known for his consistency which could become a problem if the remaining doesn’t take the onus on them.
Darren Sammy could be the trump card that they have carefully kept under wraps. The only captain to win the World T20 twice, he has been a lucky charm for most of the teams that he has played for, with his sides winning the CPL and PSL titles. He can be a game changer with the bat and a good two over bowler with remarkable fielding abilities. Marcus Stoinis is another star who can be the stock bowler they need. With all their batsmen in good form recently, it is now or never for Kings XI Punjab.
Is Maxwell good enough to lead the side? Can he lift the morale of the team? Kings XI Punjab lacks a batsman who can score 350+ each season, giving them the cushion of a consistent performer. The inexperience in the bowling could hurt them against potent batting line-ups.
The stage is set, they have the core, can they deliver as a team, and will Maxi do what Warner did for his franchise?
David Miller, Manan Vohra, Axar Patel, Glenn Maxwell(c), Gurkeerat Singh Mann, Anureet Singh, Sandeep Sharma, Shaun Marsh, Wriddhiman Saha, Nikhil Naik, Mohit Sharma, Marcus Stoinis, KC Cariappa, Armaan Jaffer, Pardeep Sahu, Swapnil Singh, Hashim Amla, Varun Aaron, Eoin Morgan, Matt Henry, Rahul Tewatia, Martin Guptill, Darren Sammy, Rinku Singh, T Natarajan