We take a look at the Kings XI Punjab in the lead up to the new IPL season.The Kings XI are yet another one of the sides who have enjoyed very limited success since the inception of the Indian Premier League in 2008. Losing finalists in 2014 and semi-finalists in the inaugural season is about as good as it’s got for the men from Mohali.
Things don’t look as though they’ll improve this season either, with Sanjay Bangar’s bowling attack looking like one of the weakest in the competition.
It’s not looking good for the Kings XI, despite having one of the most exciting batting line-ups in the competition. Sandeep Sharma, Mohit Sharma and Axar Patel will likely start most of the games for the Mohali franchise.
They’d ideally liked to have added at least one world class frontline seamer. Unfortunately for the Kings, however, they failed with auction bids on both Kagiso Rabada and Tymal Mills. They did manage to land Matt Henry, though, who will provide cover but is unlikely to start every game nor make any real impact in the tournament.
One feels that the Kings’ top order will need to shine in this tournament if they are to have any chance of making the play-offs. Having said that, selecting a top order when you have Shaun Marsh, Martin Guptill, Glenn Maxwell, David Miller, Eoin Morgan and Hashim Amla available won’t be easy, especially with only four international players allowed to be in the starting XI.
The only international players who are probably guaranteed starts are Miller and Maxwell. The two are stalwarts of the side, having churned out performance after performance over the years. I can’t see Morgan being kept out of the side too much either, especially considering how solid he looked in the Big Bash as well as for the English national side in recent months.
An explosive batting line-up isn’t enough to get you over the line in the IPL. Striking a balance between bat and ball is key and I just don’t think the Kings XI have got the balancing act right. Without a world class seamer, I just don’t see them getting anywhere near the top four.
One to Watch: Martin Guptill
With so much explosive batting options available to the Kings XI, it was always going to be difficult choosing a player to keep an eye on. After much deliberation, however, I decided to settle on Guptill. The Kiwi showed us exactly why he is one of the most destructive openers on the planet with innings of 180* against South Africa earlier this year. Expect the big ginger to clear the ropes with regularity this season.
Glaring issues weren’t sorted out during the auction. It’ll be another difficult season for the Kings XI. Having said that, they could well cause an upset or two if their batsmen fire over the course of the event. At the end of the day, however, they just don’t have the bowlers required to mount a significant push.