IPL: Kings XI Punjab invests heavily on batsmen

Much like Royal Challengers Bangalore in the past seasons, Kings XI appears to have invested more on the batsmen and all-rounders without spending enough thought on having quality pace bowlers.

Yuvraj Singh is back to Kings XI Punjab after a long time.   -  K. R. DEEPAK

If there is one team that aims to go all the way riding only on its batting might, it’s the Kings XI Punjab.

Much like Royal Challengers Bangalore in the past seasons, Kings XI appears to have invested more on the batsmen and all-rounders without spending enough thought on having quality pace bowlers.

The decision to retain only Axar Patel before the auction meant the team management was looking to build the team virtually from scratch.

The way it went about the job was quite interesting.

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First, it strengthened the spin department by picking up R. Ashwin, who could well be chosen to lead the team. Thereafter, it went on a shopping spree for batsmen and ended up with three Karnataka batsmen – K. L. Rahul, Karun Aggarwal and a day later, added Mayank Aggarwal to the list. Much before Kings XI decided to buy Chris Gayle, surprisingly unsold after two rounds, for his base price of Rs. 2 crore, Aaron Finch was added to ensure strong options for the opening slot.

David Miller was smartly retained by using the Right-to-Match card. In the midst, the buying of Manoj Tiwary, for one crore, was puzzling.

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With Yuvraj Singh coming in at his base price of two crore in addition to the retention of Marcus Stoinis via RTM, the all-rounders were carefully picked. With the team having seven all-rounders to choose from, in the squad of 21, the investment on Tiwary appeared a luxury.

In the bowling department, not to count the all-rounders, the resources look rather inadequate. The presence of speedster Andrew Tye is the only saving grace among the quality fast bowlers, with Mohit Sharma, Birender Sran and Stoinis expected to provide the options.

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Ashwin and Axar, apart from the 16-year-old Afghan off-spinner Mujeeb Zadran, add a touch of intrigue. The team could not find a quality leg-spinner and a wicketkeeper.

Rahul will be expected to keep the wickets, like he did last season for RCB. But to don the keeper’s gloves when facing the likes of Tye and Ashwin is surely not going to be easy for Rahul, bought for an astronomical Rs. 11 crore.

Over all, the influence of mentor Virender Sehwag could clearly be seen on this batting heavy unit of Kings XI.

The squad

Chris Gayle, K. L. Rahul, Aaron Finch, Mayank Aggarwal, Karun Nair, David Miller, Manoj Tiwary, Yuvraj Singh R. Ashwin, Marcus Stoinis, Axar Patel, Akshdeep Nath, Mayank Dagar, Manzoor Dar, Andrew Tye, Mohit Sharma, Barinder Sran, Ben Dwarshuis, Ankit Rajpoot, Pardeep Sahu, Mujeeb Zadran.

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