Kings 11 Punjab, a team which never rose to the expectations of the fans is now for the first time looking all set for it’s maiden IPL title. The team has previously been a centre of non-cricketing aspects where it saw it’s co-owners breaking up, Sreesanth being slapped publicly and not to forget the sacking of Yuvraj Singh. They made it to the semis in the first edition but since then it has been a forgettable tournament for them.
But for the first time , they arguably look the most dangerous side and a contender for the title. With a pool of both local and foreign talents, they have more than what it takes to lift the trophy. They were to some extent lucky in the auctions , partly because of the mismanagement of the other franchises . But for the moment they have definetely shot a bullet, for the other teams to duck for.
But they have a lot to ponder over the playing 11, with so many options available to them. The problem will be mainly regarding the 4 foreign players, which should depend on the poor local resources in a particular department.
The toss will be between Bailey, Marsh, Miller, Johnson and Perera for the spot of 4 foreign players. Though, Hendricks inspite of having all in him will have to miss just because of a good local collection of fast bowlers. Bailey , being the captain will surely be a part of the 11. Though , there has been cases of captain dropping themselves for the team’s cause, but expecting this from Bailey will be a foolish act, considering he is an Aussie.
A factor which will definetely effect the team selection will be the Australian camp that has developed in the team. It has been a common thing for Punjab , right from season 1 when Tom Moody brought some youngsters from Western Australia. Shaun Marsh and Luke Pomersbach though rose to the occasion but it was a gamble considering that they had no experience of the subcontinental conditions. Moody , though has done the same for Sunrisers Hyderabad this time. It was then followed by a camp led by Adam Gilchrist and foreigners from other team found it hard to get into the 11. Who better than Azhar Mahmood to know that, after he used to be removed from the 11 for no reason. Miller got a permanent chance only after his famous century against Bangalore. Though , they might not agree nor disagree to it publicly, but the team management does have a feel of it.
In this season, Punjab will start with Johnson, given his wicket taking abilities and Balaji and Rishi Dhawan will join him. Awana may get a game but Murali Kartik will surely make it to the 11. He has been the most under rated spinner India has seen recently. He had a terrific run with KKR but during his stay with RCB, his figures don’t actually reflect his contribution. Containing a batsman on a flat Chinnaswamy wicket is no less than picking wickets. Going for 7 runs an over there should always be accepted by a captain.Being a left armer, Ganguly always preferred others overs him as Ganguly was murderer of left armers and this shortened his International career.Dhoni just took it a step ahead.
Looking all this there will be a toss between Maxwell , Miller and Perera for the 2 available spots. Maxwell will surelly make the cut , give his recent exploits. But who between Perera and Miller is the question?
Perera just gives them an extra bowling option in the death but the thing working in Miller’s favour is his previous stay with Punjab. He was the sole positive for them in the last season and is to an extent attached to the management. Sacking him from the 11 looks unlikely. To be fare, Bailey was the most suitable candidate and this is where making a foreigner as captain of your team back fires you.This might well result into a rotation among players which in no way will harm the team.
Even with all this internal problems, Punjab emerged the victorious team in the auctions and should easily make the semis this time.