They key to Punjab’s great auction was their willingness to go for valuable mid-range players rather than emptying their pockets on big names. Kagiso Rabada is arguably the only buy that was a little out of budget, but it sorted a major issue for them: death bowling.
The toast goes to the incredible batting line-up that has Jonny Bairstow, Shikhar Dhawan, Mayank Agarwal, Liam Livingstone and Shahrukh Khan with Odean Smith and under-19 star Raj Bawa as other options. With the kind of firepower on paper, the team is reminiscent of the RCB of old – ironical that they also have a very similar jersey to that of the RCB of the past – but Punjab backed that up with a good group of bowlers.
They sealed their first-choice wrist spinner spot with the purchase of Rahul Chahar and bought back the underrated Harpreet Brar as the second spinner. Around Rabada and Arshdeep, who was retained, PBKS also built a decent Indian group of quicks including Sandeep Sharma and Ishan Porel.
Punjab Kings squad:
Batters: Mayank Agarwal, Shikhar Dhawan, Shahrukh Khan, Bhanuka Rajapaksa (o)
Wicketkeepers: Jonny Bairstow (o), Jitesh Sharma, Prabhsimran Singh
Spinners: Rahul Chahar, Harpreet Brar
Fast bowlers: Arshdeep Singh, Kagiso Rabada (o), Ishan Porel, Sandeep Sharma, Vaibhav Arora, Baltej Singh, Nathan Ellis (o)
Spin-bowling all-rounders: Liam Livingstone (o), Odean Smith (o), Writtick Chaterjee, Ansh Patel, Atharva Taide
Fast-bowling all-rounders: Raj Bawa, Rishi Dhawan, Prerak Mankad, Benny Howell (o)
The batting is incredibly strong on paper and has a good mix of accumulators and power hitters. While the top four of Bairstow, Dhawan, Mayank and Livingstone was sealed early, Punjab went about finding good backup players for each of those names and succeeded in it.
The focus on mid-range players with good impact helped them nail down the right players without shelling out too much. The likes of Benny Howell and Nathan Ellis are budget overseas picks that helped them finish the auction with a good group of backup players too.
They also have a flexible middle-order with Shahrukh Khan, Raj Bawa and Odean Smith capable of swinging for the hills and taking down pace in the death overs.
Area of concern
The one area of concern for Punjab Kings is the lack of a middle-order left-hander from India who walks into the XI. At this point, that name appears to be Raj Bawa, but he is inexperienced and the No.5 role in a league of the quality of the IPL is difficult to nail down for a teenager.
While Bhanuka Rajapaksa was likely bought with the aim of adding that left-handed middle-order hitter, they missed a better pick in Charith Asalanka.
Best buy: Jonny Bairstow for 6.75 crores
Worst buy: None
/ 1 year ago
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