The Punjab Kings (PBKS) were one of the most active franchises in the 2021 Indian Premier League (IPL) auction. They come into this year's tournament having made a number of high-profile acquisitions and have a fair amount of depth in most departments.
Although PBKS are short of all-rounders, they have players who can take them to the playoffs if they perform to their potential. KL Rahul's side acquired the likes of Moises Henriques, Jhye Richardson and Riley Meredith in the auction, apart from exciting batsman Shahrukh Khan.
PBKS' squad for IPL 2021: KL Rahul, Arshdeep Singh, Chris Gayle, Darshan Nalkande, Harpreet Brar, Mandeep Singh, Mayank Agarwal, Mohd. Shami, M Ashwin, Nicholas Pooran, Sarfaraz Khan, Deepak Hooda, Ishan Porel, Ravi Bishnoi, Chris Jordan, Prabhsimran Singh, Shahrukh Khan, Jalaj Saxena, Utkarsh Singh, Saurabh Kumar, Fabian Allen, Moises Henriques, Riley Meredith, Jhye Richardson, Dawid Malan
Here are 3 quality PBKS players who might not get a game in IPL 2021.
#3 Fabian Allen
Fabian Allen hasn't played a game in the IPL yet, although he has been a part of the Sunrisers Hyderabad squad. The West Indian's spell on the sidelines is set to continue, although PBKS don't really have any spin-bowling all-rounders apart from Deepak Hooda.
PBKS will probably two leg-spinners in Murugan Ashwin and Ravi Bishnoi, and another bowler who turns the ball into the left-hander is the last thing they need. Allen hasn't proved himself at the IPL level before, and PBKS need experienced all-rounders who can finish the innings and chip in with at least a couple of overs.
Allen may have to wait another season to make his IPL debut.
#2 Sarfaraz Khan
Sarfaraz Khan's IPL career has gone downhill since his first two seasons with the Royal Challengers Bangalore. Once retained ahead of KL Rahul and regarded as the next big thing in Indian cricket, the Mumbai-born batsman has struggled to get a consistent run of games in the IPL since.
Sarfaraz hasn't batted up the order for his domestic team in the recent past, and has struggled to notch up meaningful scores as a result. PBKS signalled their intent to find a finisher with their purchase of Shahrukh Khan, while Deepak Hooda and Mandeep Singh scored fifties in the limited opportunities they got last year.
Sarfaraz scored only 33 runs over 5 games in IPL 2020, and these numbers might further reduce this year.
#1 Dawid Malan
Dawid Malan was expected to trigger a bidding war in the IPL 2021 auction. But the #1-ranked T20I batsman in the world made his way to PBKS for his base price.
Malan may not have a role to play for PBKS in IPL 2021, though. Chris Gayle was the man who turned the team's season around in the last campaign, while Nicholas Pooran played a number of eye-catching cameos batting at No. 4.
With KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal in the top order as well, there's simply no room for Malan in the side - both in the batting order and in the overseas department.
Pooran was in exceptional form in the 2021 Abu Dhabi T10, and he seems primed for a prolific season. Gayle, on the other hand, adds a lot of value to the team with his energy and six-hitting abilities.
Although Malan is one of the best in the world at what he does, he may not get a game in IPL 2021.