After much debate and deliberation, the Punjab Kings management has decided to retain just two of their existing squad of 25 ahead of the IPL mega-auctions, with star opener Mayank Agarwal and emerging left-arm seamer Arshdeep Singh continuing to be part of the franchise.
Agarwal was the second highest run getter for the franchise in the 2021 VIVO Indian Premier League season, scoring four fifties in the season while keeping a healthy average of over 40 and a strike rate north of 140. The opening batsman has been part of the franchise since 2018, and has so far amassed six fifties and a century for Punjab Kings, while also captaining the side on one occasion in 2021.
Arshdeep Singh’s rise to prominence has been one of the biggest success stories of the IPL over the past few seasons. The seamer got his first taste of the competition through Punjab Kings itself in 2019, and has steadily risen up the pecking order for the franchise while also getting his chances with the India A team in the recent past. The 22-year-old has amassed 30 wickets in 23 matches so far for Punjab Kings, which includes a five-wicket haul in 2021 against Rajasthan Royals.
“Mayank and Arshdeep have been amongst the top performers from the last season. They are critical components of the team going forward. Mayank with his explosive batting and Arshdeep with his bowling at the death are hard to replace talents. Both are also players that have grown in the Punjab Kings franchise and it's satisfying that we were able to get them to commit their future with us,” said Satish Menon, CEO of KPH Dream Cricket, expressing his delight over the two retentions.
Building a fresh squad
Head Coach Anil Kumble also expressed his happiness over getting Agarwal and Arshdeep to continue playing for Punjab Kings, while he also hinted that the approach going forward would be to build a fresh squad with new players joining the franchise.
“We're going with only two retentions and building a fresh squad. We felt that let's go with a bigger purse and use up that purse to put together a successful squad,” said Kumble.
“In the last 14 years we haven’t had the results that we wanted. The fans have been very, very patient and supported the team throughout. Since now the tournament will have 10 teams, we believe a larger purse will enable us to put together a squad that we believe will get us the success that all of us have been waiting for,” he added.
“We’ve already discussed our auction strategies. We’ve looked at how we want to play the game going forward, and hopefully we’ll be able to build a strong enough squad to go and get us that title,” concluded Kumble.