It is that time of the year again where team owners and coaches are breaking their heads debating the different permutations and combinations they could employ to pick their strongest XI’s come the VIVO Indian Premier League. The story would be no different for Punjab Kings, as the likes of Anil Kumble, KL Rahul and rest of the management now have less than a week to finalize the team to take on Rajasthan Royals in their opening game of the 2021 IPL. 

The task at hand won’t be easy for the team management with a stellar list of 25 players to choose from for their season opener, but these could be some of the thoughts that may be running through Anil Kumble and co’s minds as the IPL approaches ever so closer. 

Top pe Tashan

Punjab Kings have historically always been blessed with good openers, and the story would be no different this season as the ever so popular duo of Mayank Agarwal and KL Rahul would most likely continue, much to the dismay of opposition bowlers. The team management would also be tempted to play Chris Gayle, reuniting the explosive duo of Rahul and Gayle. 

Following that, Punjab Kings could play their new recruits Dawid Malan and Shahrukh Khan, giving the ever reliable Nicholas Pooran and Mandeep Singh the freedom to play freely and anchor the innings. The franchise also could pick Sarfaraz Khan and Prabhsimran Singh to bolster that top-order.

Middle da Riddle 

The middle-order was often a cause for concern for KL Rahul’s side in the 2020 IPL, and the franchise have been quick to plug those gaps, picking Fabian Allen and Moises Henriques at the auctions. Both those players played admirably in the T10 League and Sheffield Shield respectively, and Punjab Kings fans would hope that they hit the ground running in the IPL as well. Apart from these two, the franchise have a host of Indian all-rounders like Utkarsh Singh, Jalaj Saxena and Deepak Hooda who could all be match winners when called upon. 

Spin da King

Last season, the leg spin duo of Ravi Bishnoi and Murugan Ashwin did wonders for Punjab Kings, acting as a bottleneck for the opposition in the middle overs. The two leggies can be expected to play a key role for Anil Kumble’s franchise once again, but they face some stiff competition this season from new recruit Saurabh Kumar and seasoned spinner Harpreet Brar, both of whom join the side after memorable domestic campaigns. 

‘Seam’ de la crème

Fast bowling seems like the one area where Punjab Kings are extremely well stocked, with a plethora of options to choose from. In the overseas pacers department, Chris Jordan will be joined by Australian speedsters Jhye Richardson and Riley Meredith, both of whom stole the show this season in the Big Bash League. On the Indian bowling front, Mohammed Shami can be expected to continue leading the pace attack, with many able youngsters to support him. Arshdeep Singh proved his mettle when called upon last season, and will be eager to go again in IPL 2021, but he faces stiff competition from Ishan Porel and Darshan Nalkande, both of whom impressed in the domestic season





Chris Gayle

KL Rahul (c and wk)

Mayank Agarwal

KL Rahul (c and wk)

Mayank Agarwal

KL Rahul (c) 

Dawid Malan

Utkarsh Singh

Dawid Malan

Mandeep Singh

Nicholas Pooran

Nicholas Pooran

Shahrukh Khan

Sarfaraz Khan

Prabhsimran Singh (wk)

Moises Henriques

Deepak Hooda

Shahrukh Khan

Harpreet Brar

Fabian Allen

Jalaj Saxena

Jhye Richardson

Chris Jordan

Jhye Richardson

Ravi Bishnoi

Riley Meredith

Arshdeep Singh

Mohammed Shami

Saurabh Kumar

Murugan Ashwin

Darshan Nalkande

Ishan Porel

Riley Meredith

NOTE: The aforementioned line-ups are an educated guess at best, and the final decision rests with the captain and the team management depending on various external factors.

Over to you: What does your playing XI look like? Let us know in the comments below.