Change of fortunes might be an ideal way to introduce Punjab Kings in IPL 2021. A stronger squad bolstered by a new name, things may, at last, favour the franchise in lifting its first-ever IPL title. Punjab Kings spent big bucks at the auction to work on their bowling concerns. Dawid Malan, Jhye Richardson, and Riley Meredith were among the new additions to the squad.
The franchise also let go of Glenn Maxwell, who failed to deliver consistently. Not enough support to pacer Mohammed Shami further dented the franchise’s chances of surpassing other teams to progress to the playoffs and win the IPL trophy. That’s history now, though. As Punjab Kings prepare to kick-start a new campaign in a new look, we take a look at the squad, its strengths, weaknesses, and more.
In a new avatar this year, Punjab Kings have star India batsman KL Rahul as the skipper. The batting line boasts the likes of Chris Gayle, Dawid Malan, Nicholas Pooran, Mayank Agarwal, and others. The bowling department, on the other hand, has some international names in Mohammed Shami, Jhye Richardson, and Chris Jordan.
While the squad has a pretty decent batting lineup, it features a rather inexperienced bowling unit, especially in Indian conditions. Given the bowling department clicks and supports the batting unit, IPL 2021 could very well be the season of Punjab Kings.
Will a change in the name bring a change in the fortunes of Punjab Kings? Only time will tell. But before that, let’s analyse the franchise’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
Punjab Kings boast one of the better batting lineups at IPL 2021. From the opening duo of ever-reliable Mayank Agarwal and skipper KL Rahul to Dawid Malan, Nicholas Pooran, and Sarfaraz Khan, Punjab Kings’ fans are set to witness some big totals this season. Universe Boss Chris Gayle is also expected to set the stage on fire with his huge sixes.
Other teams at IPL 2021 will want to keep the flamboyant wicket-keeper and batsman Nicholas Pooran in check. Punjab Kings have also roped in the world’s number one T20I batsman Dawid Malan, who can very well act as a back-up for Chris Gayle. Furthermore, all-rounder Moises Henriques and uncapped Indian batsman Shahrukh Khan also have the punch to propel Punjab Kings to big totals.
It’s not hidden that Punjab King’s biggest weakness is in their spin department. While the franchise has roped in Jalaj Saxena, who had a great run at the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, there are no bid international names in the ranks. The responsibility will be on Murugan Ashwin and Ravi Bishnoi to spin the ball for the Kings.
Both Jhye Richardson and Riley Meredith are yet to play an IPL game, which leaves only Chris Jordan and Mohammed Shami with experience at the grand stage. Ishan Porel and Arshdeep Singh do not hold much experience under their belts, either.
Punjab Kings are yet to grab an Indian Premier League title. The biggest opportunity for the franchise is to show up as a strong contender this season and clinch the cup. With a potent squad, IPL 2021 will be a perfect opportunity for KL Rahul and his men to win their maiden title.
KL Rahul, who struggled in India’s T20I series against England, will also receive much-needed match practice ahead of the T20 World Cup later this year. A big opportunity also lies ahead of Ishan Porel and Arshdeep Singh, who both can step up to support Mohammed Shami. Spinner Harpreet Brar will also be looking forward to making the most of the opportunities he gets at the tournament.
The threat right now for every team is the increasing number of COVID-19 cases. For Punjab Kings, however, Mohammed Shami might be a huge risk player as he fractured his wrist in Australia last year. The Indian pacer has not played cricket in four months and might prove to be a risky asset for the team. Shami claimed 20 wickets last season, and Punjab Kings would be hoping for a similar or even better performance from his this season.
It will also be interesting to see if Chris Gayle, who is 41 now, can maintain fitness and form to feature in all 14 league games. Punjab Kings have many other injury-prone players in Moises Henriques, Jhye Richardson, and Ishan Porel. The franchise would not be wanting any of these to suffer an injury and dent its IPL 2021 campaign.
Punjab Kings are to play their first game of IPL 2021 against Rajasthan Royals on 12 April at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai. It will be a fun campaign to witness as the Kings in their new look try to prey on the IPL trophy. Punjab Kings will play their league games in Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Chennai, and Bengaluru.
This is the second season of the Indian Premier League that will be played amid the COVID-19 pandemic. While you might not be able to enjoy the tournament as spectators, be prepared with popcorn to enjoy some action-packed and nail-biting cricket from your home! Keep reading AlShorts, where you get short news in 30 seconds, for all the latest updates from around the world, and yes, IPL 2021.