Kings XI Punjab is one of the three franchises that are yet to win their first-ever title in the Indian Premier League (IPL). There is no shortage of big and exciting players in their side that comprises of Chris Gayle, KL Rahul, Nicholas Pooran and Mohammed Shami. At the start of every season, they are rated as one of the potential sides to win the tournament but they have failed to live up to the expectations.
Earlier this month, the IPL 2020 auction was held in Kolkata and it was a big opportunity for the KXIP think tank to add some new faces in order to fill the voids in the side that can help them in clinching their maiden trophy in the next season.
KXIP entered the auction with the biggest amount in their purse among the eight teams. They had a total of Rs 42.70 Crore and it looked like the new team management under Anil Kumble would look to grab the services of some T20 specialists. They did the same but committed a few mistakes while picking the players.
The main reason behind the Kings’ failure in their previous seasons was the lack of firepower in the fast bowling unit. It looked like they had done their homework properly coming into the auction as they covered their bases by grabbing the likes of Chris Jordan, James Neesham and Ishan Porel to name a few. In the end, they were left with 16.50 as they bought a total of nine players including the above mentioned.
Thus, let’s take a look at the three disappointing buys from Kings XI Punjab:
One of the most surprising buys of this IPL was West Indies fast bowler Sheldon Cottrell, who was bought by KXIP after splashing a whopping amount of Rs 8.50 Crore. Nobody might have expected the fact that he might emerge as one of the top five expensive players of the IPL 2020 auction.
Now, in the upcoming season, Cottrell is likely to share the new ball with the Indian pacer Mohammed Shami. But, adding him in the ranks was not a wise decision taken by the KXIP think tank. Firstly, the management will have to make a place for the pacer in the team because as far as rules are concerned a franchise can play with only four overseas players and three slots are already confirmed in the presence of Maxwell, Gayle and Pooran in the team. Moreover, Chris Jordan and Mujeeb Ur Rahman will be the lead runners to grab that one overseas slot left.
On the other hand, there is still doubt whether Cottrell was worth giving a fee of 8.50 Crore or not. He played three games in the recently concluded T20I series and could only manage to grab three wickets for his team. If we have a look at his overall career in the shortest format then he doesn’t seem to be as good as the price that KXIP paid for roping him in the team.
The young player from Baroda has been a regular face in the Indian Premier League since 2015, who has played for a couple of franchises in the past like Sunrisers Hyderabad and Rajasthan Royals. But, in the upcoming season, he will wear the red-glittering jersey of Kings XI Punjab at his base price of Rs 50 Lakhs.
There is no clue over the fact that how KXIP will use him as a player in the team. The right-handed batsman lacks consistency in his performances and it is quite evident from his IPL stats due to which his former franchises released him. Hooda has so far played 61 IPL games in which he has mustered 524 runs at a strike rate of 127.18 and a poor average of 14.55. Although, he has shown some glimpses of his potential at times but failed to perform consistently.
Kings already have ample amount of domestic players in the line-up that comprises of Karun Nair, Sarfaraz Khan, Mandeep Singh, who have convincingly done well for the team in the last couple of seasons. So, it is quite difficult to assess why KXIP think tank picked a player like Deepak Hooda leaving many young and exciting domestic cricketers aside.
Kings XI Punjab in the previous auctions has always followed a trend of picking domestic cricketers at a whopping fee and they continued with the same in IPL 2020 auction. Last year, they splashed Rs 8.40 Crore on a mystery spinner Varun Chakravarthy and their move backfired as the young spinner conceded 25 runs in his debut over of the league. He warmed the bench for the rest of the season.
This time the KXIP have roped in Ravi Bishnoi, the young leggie from Rajasthan at a price of Rs 3 Crore. They already have a long list of spinners that comprises of Mujeeb ur Rehman, Murugan Ashwin, Krishnappa Gowtham, Jagdeesha Suchith. Even Glenn Maxwell can also bowl a couple of overs for the team when required in the match. So, what was the need for picking the 19-year-old for the upcoming season?
Instead of picking a domestic bowler, they would have gone for an established player, who had earned a good reputation in the world cricket because that player would have automatically brought some experience to the side. But, on the other hand, Ravi Bishnoi, lacks in experience, who has played only six List A and as many T20s in his cricket career so far. He is unlikely to get many opportunities as well.
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