Kings XI Punjab is well set for the 2019 VIVO Indian Premier League after an effective day out at the Auction on Tuesday. From Punjabis to teenagers, the selection has been varied with the chosen 13, coupled with our core group of ten, completing the squad. Presenting to you, '13 Reasons Why' we picked our '13' this year.
India’s second innings bowling king, Mohammed Shami fits perfectly into the scheme of things bolstering the pace attack of Andrew Tye and Ankit Rajpoot. Shami has been in imperious form of late, picking up 11 wickets in the ongoing India Australia series after two Tests. He has also broken the record for picking the most wickets in a year away from home by an Indian bowler.
The Englishman was India’s man of the series pick in the India-England Test series earlier this season and continued his good showing in his maiden tour to Sri Lanka as well. Known for his aggressive batting, Curran holds the ability to take games away from the opposition with ease. With bowling, the 20-year-old quick is feared for his potent yorkers and bouncers; and is guaranteed to be a thorn for any opposition.
Youngster Sarfaraz Khan gives the team some much-needed depth in the middle-order. The 21-year-old has played in the IPL before with Royal Challengers Bangalore and has a healthy strike rate of almost 160. Apart from his explosive batting.
Ashwin took the cricketing world by storm at the IPL Auction of 2016 when he was picked up Rising Pune Supergiants for a whopping 4.5 crores which was 45 times more than his base price. The spinner hasn’t failed to impress in the shortest format of the game, having picked up 10 wickets in his 12 IPL games. Ashwin joins the KXIP team after stints with RCB and Delhi Capitals as well; and his variety of experience would come handy once the IPL begins.
KXIP showed some astute business and cricketing endeavour by remarkably snapping up this Aussie all-rounder at base price of 1 crore. The 31-year-old veteran would be hungry to stake a comeback to the Australian squad; and Punjab de Lions will certainly give him the perfect pedestal. Henriques has played 57 matches in the IPL and boasts an impressive batting average of 28.5.
The swashbuckling West Indian opener impressed one and all at the T10 league in Abu Dhabi played in November. He was the highest scorer of the tournament, notching up 324 runs at a strike rate of almost 250. The 23-year-old will be targeting to make the West Indies squad for the 2019 World Cup and… we offer a pedestal.
Off-spinners, leg spinners, carrom balls, flippers, googlies… These are just some of the variations available in the Pandora’s Box of mystery spinner Varun Chakravarthy. The joint most expensive bid of the auction impressed all with his spectacular performances in the Tamil Nadu Premier League this year, helping his side Madhurai Panthers to the title by picking up nine wickets at a staggering economy rate of just 4.7.
A wicket keeper-batsman, Prabhsimran Singh recently scored a blistering 298 of 302 balls in an U-23 tournament for Punjab. His explosive batting will help Kings XI score a lot of runs in the slog overs.
Harpreet Brar picked up 10 wickets in an innings for his team Ropar in a district level match against Hoshiarpur in 2014, thus stamping his credentials. Harpreet gives the team an added spinner on turning tracks to compliment the likes of Ravichandran Ashwin and Mujeeb Ur Rahman.
On his Test debut, Hardus Viljoen picked up a wicket of his first delivery, that of England’s highest run getter Alastair Cook. By buying Viljoen at base price of 75 lakhs, KXIP have showed some incisive cricketing and business acumen; and providing KXIP’s existing pace battery some respite.
Left-arm pacer, and only 19, Arshdeep Singh was notched up at base price of 20 lakhs by KXIP and would be a good additional fast bowler for the roster. On more pace friendly tracks, Singh could prove to be a valuable asset alongside Andrew Tye, Shami and Ankit Rajpoot. Secondly, being just 19, the pacer would be a good prodigy to have for the franchise in the future.
Since making his Ranji debut for Vidarbha earlier this year, 20-year-old medium pacer Darshan Nalkande has picked up 8 wickets in just 3 games and boasts a lethal strike rate of a tad over 18. The youngster was also part of India’s victorious U-19 Asia Cup squad earlier this year.
Agnivesh Ayachi is a promising medium pace bowler hailing from Saurashtra - the team of India’s Test stalwarts Cheteshwar Pujara and Ravindra Jadeja. Ayachi gives the team a good back-up option in the pace department.