Despite a poor start, Kings XI Punjab have crawled themselves back to the scheme of things with a few tidy wins. After many rehearsals, KXIP have eventually discovered their ablest squad.
At the pre-season auctions, KXIP had the highest purse in the room. With this monopoly, the franchise almost had a free run at any player they wanted to buy. The Anil Kumble-coached franchise exerted their advantage by hiring the likes of Glenn Maxwell and Sheldon Cottrell. However, so far, it has been the uncapped stars and the less-expensive cricketers who have done well for the team.
On that note, in this article, we take a look at a strong KXIP squad that costs just under INR 10 crores.
Openers: Chris Gayle (INR 2 cr) and Mayank Agarwal (C)(INR 1 cr)
In fact, this combination has opened for KXIP in many games. This edition too, the Gayle-Mayank pair came out to wield the bat in the second super-over against Mumbai Indians. At INR 3 cr, this opening duo is the best you can get. While both are in top form, the attributes of both these cricketers also go well with each other. On one hand, Mayank can take the pressure off Gayle at the start, and after that, the West Indian will bring his percentage-game to the picture and put pressure on the opposition.
Middle-Order: Simran Singh (WK)(INR 0.55 cr) and Sarfraz Khan (INR 0.25 cr)
Yes, this might be a slightly inexperienced middle-order, but in IPL, both these batsmen can do good. While Simran Singh has been in good form domestically, Sarfraz has had his best domestic campaign last season. Simran Singh is a quality presence behind the stumps and has also played for KXIP at No.3. Sarfraz may not be enjoying his best IPL, but you never know when things could change for him.
All-Rounders: James Neesham (INR 0.5 cr), Deepak Hooda (INR 0.5 cr) and Chris Jordan (INR 3 cr)
KXIP can compensate for their young middle-order with more experience in the all-rounders’ segment. Here, they have got two international cricketers with extensive international experience and one Indian with plenty of know-how of IPL. Talking about the latter, Deepak Hooda is a well-known name in IPL, after having played quite a few games for SRH in recent seasons. He is a good batsman and can roll his arm over if necessary. Below him, at INR 0.5 cr, KXIP have got the multi-talented James Neesham. The Kiwi is a destructive batsman and a reliable option to bowl four overs. He is also a great fielder and an influential figure on the field. At No.7, KXIP can afford to have English all-rounder Chris Jordan. Chris is known for his bowling, and at it, he is one of the best in the world. A specialist bowler at the death, Chris Jordan is slowly giving competition to the likes of Jasprit Bumrah and Kagiso Rabada.
Spinners: J Suchith (INR 0.2 cr) and Murugan Ashwin (INR 0.2 cr)
Kings XI Punjab have a plethora of spinners in their roster. If there is a restriction like the one here too, KXIP can field a good spin-bowling unit. For this XI, we have Murugan Ashwin who will lead the pack. The Tamil Nadu spinner has been in fine form and would give an edge to the XI. Partnering him will be J Suchith, a left-arm offie with decent domestic experience. Suchith is a reliable batsman down the order too. Both these spinners would also get the support of Deepak Hooda and Sarfraz Khan if needed.
Pacers: Arshdeep Singh (INR 0.2 cr) and Hardus Viljoen (INR 0.75 cr)
Arshdeep Singh has been the unsung hero of KXIP’s campaign so far. Ever since he has come into the squad, KXIP have been given the option to play three foreign batsmen in the XI. Arshdeep has also shown his talent with great skill and execution. Hardus Viljoen played for KXIP last season and will look for opportunities in the coming games.