Kings Xi Punjab (KXIP) had a topsy-turvey IPL 2020 season. Losing six of the first seven games, they won five in a row to keep themselves in the hunt for the playoffs. However, they couldn’t win their final league game against the Chennai Super Kings to qualify for the playoffs.
Skipper KL Rahul won the Orange Cap, but he was unhappy that his team couldn’t make the final four. Despite having some superstars in their ranks like Chris Gayle, Glenn Maxwell, Mohammed Shami, etc. there are few areas where KXIP need to fix their issues in order to provide a stronger challenge next season.
Here are 5 players KXIP must go after if they are released in the IPL 2021 auction.
1. Chris Lynn
Chris Lynn has grown into one of the most fearsome T20 openers in the world. His unbelievable ball striking and ability to clear the fence easily saw him become a superstar at KKR. However, he was snapped up by MI in the IPL 2020 auction.
But Lynn didn’t even play a single game and warmed the bench all season. He has scored 1280 runs at a strike rate of 140.65. While KL Rahul is sometimes criticized that he is relatively slow to kick on with his innings, Lynn can prove to be a perfect foil for him. Thus, KXIP must go after Lynn as he is likely to be released by MI.
2. Mitchell McClenaghan
Another player likely to be released by MI is New Zealand over Mitchell Mcclenhaghan. KXIP have had their problems with the overseas pacer. For the first few games, Sheldon Cottrell seemed to have solved their issues. However, in one of the games against the Rajasthan Royals, Cottrell was smashed for five sixes in an over by Rahul Tewatia which won RR the game.
Cottrell was never the same bowler again and KXIP’s woes with the overseas pacer continued. Mcclenhaghan is a seasoned campaigner and has played a crucial role in MI’s 2015 and 2017 IPL triumphs. The defending champions already have the likes of Trent Boult, James Pattinson and Nathan Coulter-Nile as their options in the pace department. This could mean that Mcclenhaghan could be released by MI. Thus, KXIP could do well with a smart buy like Mcclenhaghan.
3. Harbhajan Singh
Having won three IPL titles and one Champions League with MI, off-spinner Harbhajan Singh has tonnes of experience of playing in the IPL. He played two seasons for CSK but opted out of the 2020 season due to personal reasons.
CSK did pretty well without Harbhajan and have many options like Piyush Chawla, Imran Tahir, Ravindra Jadeja, Karn Sharma, etc. up their sleeve.
Thus there is a possibility that Harbhajan could be released by CSK. The Turbanator could also come back to his home franchise if he is snapped up by KXIP. Although KXIP have good leg spinners, Krishnappa Gowtham flopped as an off-spinner and thus Harbhajan could prove to be another bargain buy.
4. Shivam Dube
With the likes of Chris Gayle, Glenn Maxwell, Nicholas Pooran already filling three out of the four overseas slots, KXIP have craved for the requirement of an Indian all-rounder who could bat down the order and also bowl a few crucial overs.
One such name that could prove to be effective is RCB’s Shivam Dube. The tall left-hander first made his name in the Mumbai T20 League when he smashed Pravin Tambe for five sixes in an over. His big-hitting ability and bowling helped him earn an IPL contract with RCB in 2019.
However, Dube has had two poor seasons and the RCB franchise might be tempted to release the all-rounder.
KXIP should thus make use of this opportunity and buy Shivam Dube if possible.
5 Siddarth Kaul
Siddarth Kaul is one among a handful of Indian pacers that Sunrisers Hyderabad has. After having an impressive IPL 2018 season, Kaul got his India call up and began to play regularly in domestic cricket too.
But he has had a poor IPL 2019 and 2020 seasons and SRH have found a new gem in T Natarajan. except for Sandeep Sharma, Natarajan and Bhuvneshwar Kumar, SRH also have an able backup in Khaleel Ahmed and Basil Thampi.
KXIP have had the services of Mohammed Shami as an Indian pacer, but they needed more depth in that department as the likes of Arshdeep Singh are still inexperienced. Thus, they would like to add one more experienced Indian pacer and that could well be Kaul.