The Kings XI Punjab had a great start in the IPL 2018 season, but KXIP finished in seventh place. The biggest reason behind their deteriorating performance in the season was that the players didn’t perform consistently.
As a result, the team management kept changing the side throughout the tournament. For KXIP to have a successful season in the IPL next year, they need more stability. Starting from the batting department, through the middle-order, and to the pace-bowling department, KXIP has had many evident loopholes. A successful venture in the IPL 2019 means the Kings XI Punjab will have to stabilize all three departments.
Let’s have a look at the list of players who they released.
Released: Aaron Finch, Axar Patel, Mohit Sharma, Yuvraj Singh, Barinder Sran, Ben Dwarshuis, Manoj Tiwary, Akshdeep Nath, Pardeep Sahu, Mayank Dagar, and Manzoor Dar.
And the list of players they retained.
Retained: KL Rahul, Chris Gayle, Andrew Tye, Mayank Agarwal, Ankit Rajpoot, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Karun Nair, David Miller, and Ravichandran Ashwin.
Only the top three scored the bulk runs, while the middle order was extremely weak and that turned out to KXIP’s biggest weakness. Manoj Tiwary and Yuvraj Singh didn’t contribute much and were hence released. KL Rahul scored volumes as Chris Gayle and Karun Nair gave glimpses of significant contributions. Marcus Stoinis, who didn’t contribute much was traded for Mandeep Singh from RCB this season.
Manan Vohra could just be the batsman who’d rescue KXIP of their middle order woes. He was a part of the Kings XI Punjab squad before the Royal Challengers Bangalore bought him last year, could be a great buy-back for KXIP at the auction. The RCB didn’t play Vohra enough last season and KXIP could use this familiar face to his best utilization. Vohra was prolific for KXIP previously and could be used when the out-of-form Gayle isn’t performing well. The best thing about Vohra is his flexibility as he can bat at any position in the top order. Also, being a cheap option at the auction, if KXIP buys him they could remain open to other more expensive players.
This destructive batsman had a scintillating season in the IPL in 2014, playing for KXIP. He was signed by the Delhi Daredevils last season but failed to perform well for them. He is the only player to score a century in T20Is while batting as an opener for the first time. True his form hasn’t been as magnificent in the IPL of late but as he’s up to the T20I rankings as an allrounder, KXIP could use his power-hitting and spin.
Indian pacers Mohit Sharma and Barinder Sran had a forgettable IPL last season. Only Andrew Tye’s death bowling was one of the positives as he claimed 26 wickets to win the Purple Cap. Ankit Rajpoot was impressive but was underutilized. To kill the pace bowling quandary, KXIP would need a world-class pacer. And who better than the fierce and attacking Dale Steyn?