IPL 2019: Kings XI Punjab SWOT analysis
One of the three teams who are yet to win a single IPL trophy, the Punjab-based franchise went into the auctions with the least players in their bag among all teams.
While for some teams like CSK and SRH the auction was just a means to add to their already strong sides, for KXIP it was of much more importance. They not only had to fill in the gaps, they also had to build the required bench strength.
KXIP picked up as many as 13 players at the auction, some smart buys, some bargains and some over spends. Here we look at the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats for the Punjab-based franchise going into the 12th season:
The batting lineup, especially the top and the upper middle order, seem to be in good hands, with a devastating yet stable look. Chris Gayle and KL Rahul, if they perform like last season, will be a treat to watch together.
The likes of Mandeep Singh, Mayank Agarwal, Karun Nair and David Miller make a decent middle order. The addition of Nicholas Pooran, the backup wicketkeeper, also gives them a substitute if Gayle fails. Sarfaraz Khan might be used as a finisher, which KXIP lacked last season.
The spin department holds a lot of mystery, with the presence of Mujeeb Ur Rahman and the new sensation Varun Chakravarthy, and could be their trump card in the tournament.
The addition of Sam Curran adds depth to the batting while also strengthening the pace attack. With Andrew Tye, Ankit Rajpoot, Mohammad Shami and Curran, the pace attack looks more than decent.
The poor form of the middle and lower middle order, coupled with the lack of finishing abilities, led to the ouster of KXIP in 2018 despite earlier being in a situation to top the table. The form of Mayank and Miller, which deserted them last season, will play a crucial role in deciding the fate of the team.
KXIP seem short of Indian pacers, with only Shami and Rajpoot being the ones with some sort of experience in the IPL. Moreover, Shami has a forgettable record in the IPL so far, and is yet to make a mark in the shortest format.
The backups in the batting department give the team more flexibility. The presence of multiple mystery spinners might also hold them in good stead for major part of the tournament.
Prabhsimran Singh, bought at a whopping INR 4.80 crore, might be used as a surprise element at the top. That would give him a huge platform to showcase his talent.
Mandeep and Sarfaraz, armed with the experience of finishing with RCB, might prove to be the missing links of the puzzle, accompanied by Sam Curran and Miller.
The potential unavailability of Tye and Curran due to the World Cup could be a major setback for the team. With Tye being the only death specialist, the death bowling is already an area of concern.
The form of star players, which deserted them last season, continues to be a matter of concern this time too. Ravichandran Ashwin, the captain, faded away after showing a lot of promise in the initial stages of the tournament last year. His captaincy will be one of the major factors in deciding the fate of the team.
KL Rahul, Mayank Agarwal, Karun Nair, David Miller, Mandeep Singh, Sarfaraz Khan, Sam Curran, R Ashwin, Andrew Tye, Ankit Rajpoot, Mujeeb Ur Rahman