From a mid table team to the most destructive side last season, it was much of an uphill task for Kings XI Punjab to reach that spot. Nobody had expected the Mohali based franchise to come good. After a semi final finish in the first season, it all went downwards for the team until last year when they underwent an overhaul, appointing a new coach in Sanjay Bangar and buying some great talents in Glenn Maxwell, Mitchell Johnson and Indian veteran Virender Sehwag. This Kings XI was the fearless of them all. Even this year they look the same dangerous side from last year. Here we take a look at the Kings XI Punjab of 2015.
Departures : Lakshmipathy Balaji, Cheteshwar Pujara, Murali Kartik (RETIRED)
Arrivals : Murali Vijay (DD), Nikhil Nayak, Yogesh Golwalkar
The Kings XI Punjab looks the same as last year, only signing Murali Vijay as one of the main signings, while getting local talents like Nikhil Nayak and Yogesh Golwalkar. They let go veterans like Lakshmipathy Balaji and Murali Kartik to make place for the youngsters. Despite lack of Auction activity, they still look dangerous on paper. Here we take a look at how they can line up :-
Murali Vijay : The only main signing for Kings XI Punjab this season, Murali Vijay looks to fill in the opener slot left vacant by Cheteshwar Pujara. He will partner his former test colleague Virender Sehwag in the opening and tries to establish a dangerous opening duo.
Virender Sehwag : The IPL veteran, Viru is widely regarded as the best opener India had ever produced. His stance is still feared by most bowlers in the present world. Given the fact of his swashbuckleness, would be key in rapid contributions to team totals.
Manan Vohra : Adding him would make them short of a regular bowling option, but the reason he was picked was because of his form. He was retained last year by the franchise and had shown promise of his capabilities whenever played. He was the team’s leading runscorer in the Champions League, finishing second on the Golden Bat list. Let’s see what 2015 brings for the young Punjab lad.
Wriddhiman Saha : The Bengal wicketkeeper, signed last season was the prime focalpoint of the team’s batting. He had got runs whenever the team wanted and had delivered whenever needed, most notably a century in the final against Kolkata Knight Riders. He also earning himself a callup to the Indian team with his performances. There’s no way keeping him out of the side looking at his form.
Glenn Maxwell : The highest runscorer for Kings XI in its previous edition, Maxwell looks on song coming from a World Cup win. He had established his reputation in the last edition of IPL and would look forward to continue on that run. His role would likely to be essential in the latter stages of the tournament. Let’s see what 2015 brings for him.
David Miller : “If it’s in the arc, it’s out of the park, ” KILLER MILLER can go on rampage whenever he gets going. Would continue his role as the finisher and won’t see a change in his role.
George Bailey : With too many destructive batsman at the top and Bailey himself struggling for form, he wouldn’t mind coming down the order for the team. He could only be brought up if someone struggles for form, this could be his way back to form. And his calmness in pressure situations and his faith in every member of the side would also be of help for the team. Every team would wish to have a leader like him.
Akshar Patel : The breakout star of 2014. there was no way back for the 21 year old Gujarat left spinner. He remains the only experienced regular spinning option for Kings XI and would be widely used to tighten the overs for the opposition batsman. With himself riding high on confidence, he could be a big asset to the franchise and help them win the title.
Rishi Dhawan : The Himachal all rounder could be handy both in batting and bowling for the team. If given the new ball, his early in swingers could be deadly in the powerplay overs and tighten overs for the batsmen. Could alternate with Karanveer Singh if they decide to go for two regular spinners or a dip in form for young Rishi.
Mitchell Johnson : The only experienced seamer in the team,he comes off an amazing World Cup triumph. His momentum will be key in the early stages of the tournament. Would later depend on his form how it will fare for the team.
Parwinder Awana : The only viable local seam option in the team, confidence looks sky high for the Delhi lad. Bagging a hat-trick in his last game for KXIP against CSK, could swing the ball both ways in the early overs. Alternated with Sandeep Sharma if he fails.
In an overview, they have amazing depth in their batting lineup. Batting order can contribute runs till number 10 and would be ready for big scores in every game.
Punjab begin their IPL campaign against Rajasthan Royals on April 10th at the MCA stadium in Pune. Let’s see how this season goes for the Kings.