A new look Punjab Kings added nine new players to their roster at the 2021 VIVO Indian Premier League auctions, bringing in a bunch of exciting Indian and overseas prospects. Seven of the nine players picked are set to make their IPL debuts this season, showing potentially a new direction employed by the team management.
The Punjab Kings management however also picked up Moises Henriques and Fabian Allen to bring some much needed experience to the side. The franchise seems to have plugged the holes at the auction, bringing in some handy all-rounders as well as spin bowlers to complete their roster. Here’s everything you need to know about Punjab Kings’ new players.
Punjab Kings picked up a trio of Australian players at the auctions, adding Jhye Richardson, Riley Meredith and Moises Henriques to their roster. All three are coming off the back of a very successful 2021 Big Bash League, and the Punjab management would hope for that form to spill over come the IPL.
Richardson was the leading wicket-taker in the Big Bash League, picking up 29 wickets in 17 games. His efforts in the competition were duly recognised by Punjab Kings, who broke the bank to make him their most expensive pick ever in the history of the IPL. The 24-year-old has an ominous record of dismissing Virat Kohli in three consecutive ODIs when India toured Australia in 2018, and also picked up five wickets in his very first Test match back in 2019.
Riley Meredith was the second highest wicket-taker for his franchise Hobart Hurricanes at the 2021 Big Bash League. He averaged a wicket every 18 balls in that competition, with his blistering pace drawing admiration from many in the cricket fraternity. Though yet to represent Australia, he remains on the radar for an International call up, and will be keen to impress in the IPL with the T20 World Cup next on the radar.
Moises Henriques was picked by Punjab Kings for the 2019 IPL season, but unfortunately could not make his debut for the franchise due to injury. The Aussie all-rounder is back now for IPL 2021, and joins the side off the back of leading the Sydney Sixers to their third Big Bash League title. Still a regular in the Australian limited overs setup, Moises’ experience and big game ability could be vital for Anil Kumble’s side this season.
Alongside these expensive overseas picks, Punjab Kings shrewdly roped in some of the finest domestic talents, picking the likes of Shahrukh Khan, Jalaj Saxena, Utkarsh Singh and Saurabh Kumar. The latter of the list was the leading wicket-taker for Uttar Pradesh in last season’s Ranji Trophy, picking up 44 wickets. Kumar is currently also a net bowler with the Indian Test team for their series against England.
Jalaj Saxena was Kerala’s leading wicket-taker in last season’s Ranji Trophy,and performed admirably in the recently concluded Syed Mushtaq Ali tournament, picking up 10 wickets in five games for Kerala. He also boasts a strong batting average in excess of 35 in First Class cricket, and could be an ideal middle-order pick for Punjab Kings.
Shahrukh Khan was Punjab Kings’ most expensive Indian pick this year at the auctions, with many other teams also vying for his services. The 25-year-old boasted the highest strike rate across teams this year in the Mushtaq Ali Trophy, scoring several match-winning cameos for the eventual champions Tamil Nadu. A natural hitter of the ball, Shahrukh seems an ideal fit for Punjab Kings in the lower middle-order to close out games for the franchise.
Punjab Kings opened their account in the 2021 IPL auctions by picking the talismanic English batsman Dawid Malan at base price.
Malan is currently the top-ranked T20I batsman of the world, and has consistently been amongst the top run scorers for his country. With a strike rate of nearly 150 in T20I cricket, the English southpaw has the scary potential to score fast and blow away opposition bowlers. The 33-year-old has been a match-winner in franchise competitions across the world is now set to light up the IPL with Punjab Kings.
Fabian Allen was also picked at base price by Punjab Kings, with many considering that acquisition an exceptional bargain. Apart from being one of the greatest fielders of his generation, Allen is also a handy spin bowler and attacking batsman, bringing the complete package to the table. The 25-year-old has played in franchise tournaments across the globe, and was recently part of the T10 winning Northern Warriors team; and is now set to light up the IPL with the Punjab Kings.