A major contributing factor of KXIP’s batting that season was Glenn Maxwell, and the Australian is back in red for this season of the IPL. Maxwell held the Orange Cap that season for the first quarter of the competition, getting three half centuries. The Australian averages almost 50 with the bat in ODIs in the UAE, and comes into this season of the IPL off the back of some splendid performances on the International front against England.
Strong spin frontier
The sluggish tracks of the Middle East tend to favour turn, and that’s one department where Kings XI Punjab are well stocked, with four specialist spinners and three others who can chance their arm with some part-time off-spin. Amongst the spinners, they have two exciting young bowlers who have really made a mark for themselves this year in Ravi Bishnoi and Mujeeb Ur Rahman. Bishnoi was the leading wicket-taker at the U19 World Cup earlier this year, while Mujeeb was the second highest wicket-taker in the 2020 Caribbean Premier League.
Apart from that, they have the experience of Krishnappa Gowtham, Jagadeesha Suchith and Murugan Ashwin to bolster their spin attack, all of whom have been playing in the IPL for a few seasons and understand the challenges of bowling in franchise cricket pretty well.
Kings XI Punjab have three stalwarts of the game in their coaching staff, with Anil Kumble as Head coach, Jonty Rhodes as Fielding coach and Wasim Jaffer as Batting coach. All three of them have had long and successful playing careers, and bring with themselves newfound belief to the franchise.
Anil Kumble was the mentor of Mumbai Indians in the past, and helped them to the IPL crown twice- in 2013 and 2015. Similarly, Jonty Rhodes worked as fielding coach for MI for nearly a decade and also worked with the South African cricket team; and brings with him that winning mentality as a coach for KXIP this season.
Players in fine form
Most players of all franchises would be a little rusty to begin the tournament, as they have been away from competitive cricket for the better part of the year. However, this could prove to be a blessing in disguise for Kings XI Punjab, as four of their players have been firing on all cylinders in different parts of the world, with Mujeeb, Sheldon Cottrell and Nicholas Pooran performing well in the 2020 CPL, with the latter getting the only ton of the tournament.
So good from Glenn Maxwell - England need perhaps their biggest miracle yet of this belting little tour— Will Macpherson (@willis_macp) September 16, 2020
Glenn Maxwell and Chris Jordan also proved their mettle in the ongoing England Australia series, and would be match fit to jump off the plane and pick up from where they left off in the IPL. On the domestic front, Sarfaraz Khan, Ishan Porel, Krishnappa Gowtham and Mandeep Singh come off the back of successful Ranji Trophy seasons, and KXIP fans would be optimistic of that form yielding rewards in the IPL too.
Kings XI Punjab missed out having that genuine all-rounder in their roster last season, and that cost them on a few occasions. This time around, the management were shrewd to plug those gaps, picking Glenn Maxwell, Jimmy Neesham, Deepak Hooda and Tajinder Singh in the auctions. They also traded in Krishnappa Gowtham from the Rajasthan Royals, with Ankit Rajpoot going the other way.
With so many all-rounders to choose for that lower middle-order slogging role who can give the team a couple of overs with the ball, Kings XI Punjab are almost spoilt for choice. The team looks more balanced with these additions and playing a long tournament like the IPL, the variety of their roster could lend a big helping hand to KL Rahul and co.