Sports Monks

Four players Kings XI Punjab should sign in the IPL auction

After showing a lot of promise at the start of 2018 IPL, Kings XI Punjab lost a heap of games in the second half of the tournament and failed to make it to the playoffs. Following their dismal performance, the franchise has sacked their coach Brad Hodge and mentor Virender Sehwag and have roped in Mike Hesson as their new coach.

They made their first move ahead of 2019 IPL when they traded Australian all-rounder Marcus Stoinis with RCB for Mandeep Singh and have released as many as 11 players ahead of the auction.

They will have a lot of work to do in the auction as they have just ten players in the squad. Let us take a look at four players who KXIP might buy in the upcoming auction.

Retained

Lokesh Rahul, Chris Gayle, Andrew Tye, Mayank Agarwal, Ankit Rajpoot, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Karun Nair, David Miller, and Ravichandran Ashwin

Released

Aaron Finch, Axar Patel, Mohit Sharma, Yuvraj Singh, Barinder Sran, Ben Dwarshuis, Manoj Tiwary, Akshdeep Nath, Pardeep Sahu, Mayank Dagar, and Manzoor Dar

Traded

Marcus Stoinis for Mandeep Singh

Available Slots

15; Indian 11, Overseas 4

Sarfaraz Khan

By releasing Yuvraj Singh, Manoj Tiwary, and Akshdeep Nath, KXIP have ensured that they don’t have anyone barring Karun Nair and their new signing Mandeep Singh who can do the job for them in the middle-order. Given that Mayank Agarwal is not a natural middle-order batsman and he struggles to get going anywhere below the opener’s role, it is all but certain that the franchise will opt for a middle-order batsman who can double up as the finisher.

Royal Challengers Bangalore’s Sarfaraz Khan is one name who can be the solution to Kings XI’s woes. Sarfaraz had a great start to his IPL career playing for RCB, and with the promise he showed, RCB even went on to retain him ahead of the 2018 IPL auction. But, Sarfaraz, who was returning from a knee year injury that kept him out of action for almost one year, had a miserable season and was released ahead of the 2019 edition.

Sarfaraz is a very good player in the format as he is equally good against both pace and spin and is one of the very few Indian batsmen who can play unorthodox shots and put the bowlers under pressure. With age on his side, it will be a very good investment if KXIP decides to buy the 21-year-old.

Jaydev Unadkat

Kings XI Punjab retained just one local fast bowler in Ankit Rajpoot, and they badly need some more fast bowlers to have a good attack and back-up. They even released discarded Indian internationals Mohit Sharma and Barinder Sran which leaves them in need of some reinforcements in the fast bowling department.

With the highest auction purse at their disposal, there are more chances that R Ashwin and co. might go behind Jaydev Unadkat, who was released by Rajasthan Royals, who bought the left-arm seamer right under KXIP’s nose for a whopping 11.5 crores INR in the 2018 auction.

Unadkat is an experienced campaigner who is equally good with the new ball and with the death as he has a lot of variations to contain the batsmen towards the end.

Jason Roy

Last season, openers KL Rahul and Chris Gayle almost carried the burden of their batting line-up throughout the IPL. Chris Gayle, despite being the greatest T20 batsman till date, has started to regress as a batsman over the last couple of years and going into the season banking only on Gayle could prove costly for KXIP. Also with Rahul likely to get a place in the World Cup squad as the third opener, he might be rested for a few games here and there.

So, having a backup opener for Gayle and Rahul could be handy for them. Jason Roy is someone who can offer what Gayle offered them in the last season and is one of the best limited-overs players in the world. Roy can get his team off to a great start which is evident from his T20 strike-rate of 146. Roy could be an excellent addition to the KXIP unit, and if he gets a long rope in the XI, there are no reasons why KXIP can’t make it to the playoffs.

Wriddhiman Saha

Earlier this month, Sunrisers Hyderabad released wicketkeeper-batsman Wriddhiman Saha ahead of the 2019 IPL auction. With Saha entering the auction pool, KXIP should get his services again after releasing him ahead of the 2018 IPL auction.

In Saha, they will get a batsman who can score some runs and more importantly, a wicketkeeper who is easily one of the safest in the country. With Saha donning the gloves, it will allow KL Rahul to play as a frontline batsman and concentrate only on his batting, something he couldn’t do in 2018 because of the unavailability of wicketkeepers in the side.

So, it won’t be surprising if KXIP decides to go after a wicketkeeper and end up buying Saha again in the IPL auction.

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