Kings XI Punjab were renamed to Punjab Kings ahead of the IPL 2021 season. Led by Lokesh Rahul, Punjab Kings failed to qualify for the playoffs for another year as they finished on the sixth spot. Last time, Punjab qualified for the playoffs, it was way back in 2014 when they lost in the final to Kolkata Knight Riders.
Punjab spent big bucks on several players in the auction that took place last month. Dawid Malan, Riley Meredith and Jhye Richardson were among the top overseas picks. Uncapped all-rounder, Shahrukh Khan was picked up by the franchise for Rs. 5.25 crore.
Full Punjab Kings Squad for IPL 2021
Punjab Kings Squad: KL Rahul, Arshdeep Singh, Chris Gayle, Darshan Nalkande, Harpreet Brar, Mandeep Singh, Mayank Agarwal, Mohammad Shami, Murugan Ashwin, Nicholas Pooran, Sarfaraz Khan, Deepak Hooda, Ishan Porel, Ravi Bishnoi, Chris Jordan, Prabhsimran Singh, Jhye Richardson, Riley Meredith, Shahrukh Khan, Moises Henriques, Dawid Malan, Fabian Allen, Jalaj Saxena, Saurabh Kumar and Utkarsh Singh.
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Probable Punjab Kings Playing XI for IPL 2021
Lokesh Rahul (C/wk), Mayank Agarwal, Dawid Malan, Nicholas Pooran, Shahrukh Khan, Deepak Hooda, Jalaj Saxena, Mohammad Shami, Jhye Richardson, Chris Jordan, Ravi Bishnoi
KL Rahul, captain of Punjab Kings claimed his second successive Orange Cap as he managed to score 670 runs in the last campaign at an average of over 55. Rahul will continue to open the batting for Punjab and will hope to carry his side into the playoffs this time around.
Mayank Agarwal and KL Rahul formed the best opening partnership in IPL last year. In his 11 innings, Mayank Agarwal scored 424 runs at an average of 38.55. He will continue to open the bating alongside his skipper in the 2021 season. Agarwal compensated for Rahul’s slow starts by scoring at a strike rate in the mid 150s.
Punjab will have a tough choice to make as to who bats for them at number three. Dawid Malan and Chris Gayle are among the options available for the franchise. Malan is ICC’s top ranked T20I batsman and will just edge out Chris Gayle for a place in the eleven. However, Gayle can be expected to play a part at some point in the season.
Nicholas Pooran will come in at number four for Punjab Kings. The left hander had an impressive IPL campaign last year, where he started off slowly, but picked up pace towards the second half of the season. He scored 353 runs last season at an average of 35.30 and a staggering strike rate of almost 170.
Shahrukh Khan was picked by Punjab in the recently concluded auction after his impressive performances on the domestic circuit. Khan will come in at number five position and is expected to attack the opposition with his natural game. He played a vital part in helping Tamil Nadu clinch the Syed Mustaq Ali title after scoring 49 off 19 balls in the quarterfinals and a knock of 18 runs from 7 balls in the finals.
Deepak Hooda played seven matches for Punjab last year scoring 101 runs and remaining unbeaten in four innings. He will occupy the number six for Punjab and will look forward to making much more of an impact this time around.
Jalaj Saxena had an impressive Syed Mustaq Ali campaign where he picked up ten wickets in his five outings. He can also prove to be a handy lower order batsman as his domestic record suggests. He has over 6000 runs in first class cricket, having made his debut in 2005.
Mohammad Shami was Punjab’s best bowler last season, picking up 20 wickets in 14 innings at an average of 23. However, he did not get much support from the rest of the bowling unit who were not consistent enough. With the likes of Riley Meredith and Jhye Richardson in the squad, a huge load of pressure is lifted off Shami.
Jhye Richardson was picked up Punjab Kings in the auction. The Australian pacer was the top wicket-taker in the recently concluded KFC BBL season. Richardson has also represented Australia in 14 T20Is, picking up 13 wickets at an average of just over 32.
Chris Jordan will complete the three man pace attack for Punjab Kings. Jordan is expected to get the nod over Meredith for a place in the eleven. The English pacer played nine games for Punjab last year, picking up as many wickets at an average of 33.77.
Ravi Bishnoi and Murugan Ashwin are expected to battle it out for the last spot in the team. Both leg spinners had good IPL seasons last year, but Bishnoi is expected to be chosen ahead of his teammate. Bishnoi picked up 12 wickets in his 14 outings last year at an average of just over 31.
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