The key to Kings XI Punjab’s success in this year’s IPL was the performance of domestic players like Manan Vohra, Sandeep Sharma and Akshar Patel. Though the likes of Glenn Maxwell and David Miller hogged the limelight, it was the home-bred players who chipped in at crunch moments to take the team to the final.
As Punjab gear up to face Hobart Hurricanes, they will hope that their bench strength will make a difference, especially in the light of a depleted bowling department with Mitchell Johnson (rib injury) and Sandeep Sharma nursing injuries.
“I try and give a lot of importance to the reserve players, having myself spent a lot of time on the bench in international cricket. We spent a lot of extra time with them to keep them match-ready. The bottom line was to give chances to players who were hungry to succeed. Whether they were experienced or not did not matter for us,” said KXIP coach Sanjay Bangar, who was named assistant coach of the Indian team during the recently concluded ODI series in England.
As for the success mantra, KXIP followed the model pioneered by Rajasthan Royals, where domestic players were pushed and integrated to form the core of team. “I also believe we have some young bowlers whom we probably will be throwing into the deep end to take responsibility. We couldn’t fully utilise the services of a player like Thisara Perera in the IPL, and now I think he can really step up,” Bangar said on the eve of his team’s debut in CLT20.