In the past ten editions of the Indian Premier League, Kings XI Punjab are the only franchise who raised many hopes at the start of the every new season but failed to live up to the expectations of their fans and critics by the end of it. The Punjab-based franchise managed to reach the top four only on couple of occasions in the last ten editions of the cash-rich league. They finished third in the inaugural edition of IPL in 2008 and then came agonizingly close to winning the title in 2014 but denied by Kolkata Knight Riders.
However, in 2018, Punjab look like a settled side with renewed confidence. The team is full of T20 specialists who can turn the tide on any given day with their skill and abilities. With a new captain at their helm in form of Ravichandran Ashwin, Kings XI Punjab are hoping for a turnaround in the 11th edition of the tournament. Ashwin will have the guidance of team’s mentor Sehwag who was himself considered the biggest match-winner in the gentlemen’s game.
Despite good players and bench strength, Kings had not been able to hit its prime in the last few seasons and are yet to lift their maiden IPL title. But this time around with the great pool of players that they have picked during the player auction in January, the Preity Zinta-co owned side will leave no stone unturned to leave a mark in the competition.
Undoubtedly, Kings XI Punjab boasts off the most daunting batting lineup in this year’s IPL. With names like Yuvraj Singh, Chris Gayle, Aaron Finch, David Miller and KL Rahul in their ranks – no total is safe enough or no boundary is long enough to stop these stalwarts from putting up a show for their loyal fan base.
Apart from them, Punjab also have a solid middle-order with some proven Indian talent in their side. Domestic heavyweights Mayank Agarwal, Karun Nair and Manoj Tiwary will likely to add depth to the Kings batting unit.
Bowling seems to be a worry for Punjab in the new season of IPL. Despite being led by a successful bowler like Ravichandran Ashwin, Punjab’s bowling unit lacks the bite and looks frail on paper. Apart from Ashwin, Axar Patel will shoulder the spin bowling duties with the captain. The pace department is where Punjab will miss the services of a renowned Indian name which could prove to be the difference for the team. However, Andrew Tye is a proven T20 specialist and a lot will be expected from him. Mohit Sharma, Barinder Sran and Ankit Rajpoot have a chance to use this season as a platform to get back in the national reckoning.
The lack of a specialist wicket-keeper can also cost Kings XI Punjab dearly in this year’s IPL. KL Rahul is expected to perform that task for the side. He had earlier kept the wickets for the Royal Challengers Bangalore.
KINGS XI PUNJAB 2018 SQUAD
R Ashwin (C), Axar Patel, Yuvraj Singh, Karun Nair, KL Rahul, Gayle, Miller, Aaron Finch, Marcus Stoinis, Mayank Agarwal, Ankit Rajpoot, Manoj Tiwary, Mohit Sharma, Mujeeb Zadran, Barinder Sran, Andrew Tye, Akshdeep Nath, Dwarshuis, Pardeep Sahu, Mayank Dagar, Manzoor Dar.