IPL 2019: Chris Gayle, Ravichandran Ashwin lead Kings XI Punjab’s hopes
Kings XI Punjab have retained their core players - KL Rahul, Chris Gayle, Ravichandran Ashwin and David Miller. However, some new inclusions to the side such as Nicholas Pooran and Moises Henriques will strengthen their middle order.Updated: Feb 15, 2019 10:47 IST
The Kings XI Punjab started IPL 2018 brilliantly and were on course for a top four finish, but they stumbled in the second part of the league, losing five matches in a row. They eventually finished seventh in the competition.
The Punjab team have retained their core players - KL Rahul, Chris Gayle, Ravichandran Ashwin and David Miller. However, some new inclusions to the side such as Nicholas Pooran and Moises Henriques will strengthen their middle order.
They have acquired an exciting talent in Sam Curran, who can change a course of the match with bat and ball. It will be interesting to see how leg-spinner Varun Chakravarthy performs, since he was bought for a whopping Rs 8.4 crore.
The Kings XI Punjab have never won the IPL and have reached the final only once. The management will be hoping that their big guns - Gayle and Ashwin come to the fore and put up consistent performances throughout the season.
If the Kings XI Punjab are concerned about KL Rahul’s recent form, then they could give Mayank Agarwal a go at the top of the order. Agarwal has been scoring consistently in domestic cricket in the last two years and also performed in the Test series in Australia.
It was surprising to see Punjab pick up Sarfaraz Khan in the auction, since he last played a first-class match in 2016. If Sarfaraz is keen on resurrecting his chances of making it to the Indian team, then this season would be a huge opportunity for him.
Ravichandran Ashwin, KL Rahul, Chris Gayle, Andrew Tye, Mayank Agarwal, Ankit Rajpoot, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Karun Nair, David Miller, Moises Henriques, Nicholas Pooran, Varun Chakaravarthy, Sam Curran, Mohammad Shami, Sarfaraz Khan , Hardus Viljoen, Arshdeep Singh, Darshan Nalkande, Prabhsimran Singh, Agnivesh Ayachi, Harpreet Brar, Murugan Ashwin.
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After a couple of quite seasons, the explosive Chris Gayle was back on track in the 2018 season. The West Indian notched 368 runs in 11 matches at an average of 40.88. He scored three half-centuries and one hundred. Gayle would certainly look to get Kings XI Punjab to a blazing start in this IPL.
Andrew Tye finished as the highest wicket-taker in the last season of IPL. The fast bowler picked up 24 wickets in 14 matches. Tye will be looking to work his magic in the IPL once again. He has performed decently in the Big Bash League with 17 wickets in 14 matches.
Mujeeb Ur Rahman
Mujeeb Ur Rahman was one of the biggest upcoming stars in the last IPL. The off-spinner took 14 wickets in 11 matches at an average of 20.64. He bowled at a decent economy rate of 6.99. Rahman is the perfect spin partner for captain Ashwin.
David Miller played only three matches in the last season, but he may have a bigger role to play in this season. The South African is capable of hitting the big shots at will. He can propel Punjab to a big score and help them carry out tough chases.
Nicholas Pooran could be one of the biggest stars of this season since he has been in good form in the Bangladesh Premier League. He has scored 379 runs in 11 matches at an average of 47.37. The 23-year-old Trinidadian scored three half-centuries in the competition.
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KL Rahul has been in terrible form since the tour of Australia. He has lost his place in the Indian team for all the formats and is currently trying to work his way back. The Karnataka batsman managed to get a score of 89 in the unofficial Test against England Lions, but he will certainly hope for a fantastic IPL to give himself a berth in the World Cup squad.
It was disappointing for Ravichandran Ashwin to sustain an injury during an important tour of Australia. The off-spinner bowled brilliantly in the first Test, but then missed the remainder of the series. Therefore, the Tamil Nadu cricketer will be hoping to regain full fitness and bamboozle batsmen in the Indian Premier League.
The Kings XI Punjab have acquired Mohammed Shami in the perfect time. The paceman has been bowling in good rhythm since the Test series in Australia and he continued his form in the shorter format matches against Australia and New Zealand. Shami would hope that he doesn’t lose his rhythm until the end of the World Cup.
Varun Chakravarthy is a mystery spinner, who has seven variations up his sleeve. He bowled fantastically in the Tamil Nadu Premier League in 2018 to help Siechem Madurai Panthers win their first title. Chakaravarthy could cause a storm if batsmen find it difficult to read his bowling.
Sarfaraz Khan has the capability of finishing off innings with big hits, but he wasn’t able to do justice to his talent in the last season. Once touted as an upcoming player, Sarfaraz has lost his way in his cricketing career. If he is given ample opportunities by Punjab, he could remind everyone about his batting prowess.
2008 - semifinals
2009 - 5th
2010 - 8th
2011 - 5th
2012 - 6th
2013 - 6th
2014 - runners-up
2015 - 8th
2016 - 8th
2017 - 5th
2018 - 7th
First Published: Feb 15, 2019 10:42 IST