Punjab Kings (PBKS) acquired only six players and spent Rs. 20 crores in the IPL 2023 auction.Out of the said six players, the franchise spent Rs. 18.50 crores on Sam Curran, making him the most expensive buy in the history of the IPL.
Following the acquisition of Sam Curran, Punjab Kings also purchased Sikandar Raza, an experienced all-rounder from Zimbabwe, for Rs. 50 lakhs.
Apart from the above-mentioned overseas players, the team acquired four uncapped players: Harpreet Singh Bhatia (batsman), Shivam Singh (all-rounder), Mohit Rathee (all-rounder), and Vidhwath Kaverappa (bowler).
Post-auction, the team has 22 players for IPL 2023 and could have acquired three more at the auction because they had Rs. 12.20 in their kitty. Here is a look at three such players Punjab Kings could have acquired in the auction:
#1 Sandeep Sharma
Sharma has a decent track record in IPL cricket. He has played 10 seasons in the IPL, having made his debut way back in 2013. Sharma is a real asset, especially in the power play overs, and has the knack of picking up early wickets in a T20 game.
He has picked up 114 IPL wickets at an average of 26.33 and an impressive economy rate of 7.77. Sharma's experience would have been handy for PBKS in IPL 2023.
As far as Indian fast bowlers are concerned, Punjab Kings have only Arshdeep Singh, who has played at the international level. Though Sharma has not played much international cricket, he is an experienced campaigner in IPL cricket and could have been a valuable pick for the team.
#2 Dawid Malan
Out of the eight allotted slots for overseas players, Punjab Kings could just fill seven and had one slot remaining. The team could have bid for English top-order batsman Dawid Malan.
Apart from Shikhar Dhawan, the team lacks an experienced batsman at the top of the order who can stabilize the innings in case of early wicket losses and/or play the role of a finisher in the death overs.
Malan has a healthy average of 38.84 in 53 T20I innings and has a decent strike rate of 135.71. He is ranked sixth in the ICC T20I rankings and has been one of the reasons for England's success in T20I cricket.
PBKS could have missed the trick by not acquiring Malan in the mini-auction. For the record, Malan has played just one game in IPL cricket; the same is true for PBKS in 2021.
#3 Varun Aaron
As mentioned hereinabove, Punjab Kings have an inexperienced fast bowling attack as far as Indian bowlers are concerned. Varun Aaron could have been a welcome addition to the PBKS squad.
Aaron has picked up 44 IPL wickets at an average of 33.66. Though his economy rate is slightly on the higher side (8.94), he has the ability to bowl fast and unsettle batsmen with his raw pace.
Aaron has played nine seasons in the IPL and was a part of the victorious Gujarat Titans squad in 2022, where he played two matches. PBKS could have bid for the pacer considering they had three slots to fill.
Poll : Would Dawid Malan have been a handy pick for PBKS in the auction?