Former Indian opener Aakash Chopra has picked his ideal playing XI for the Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) for IPL 2020. He mentioned that the No. 3 batting position and the fast bowling unit could be slight issues for the franchise.
Aakash Chopra put his thinking cap on to pick the strongest possible Kings XI Punjab lineup for the upcoming IPL in a video shared on his Facebook page.
Kings XI Punjab captain KL Rahul was obviously selected by Aakash Chopra as one of the openers, with the latter opining that the Karnataka player could be the best Indian cricketer in IPL 2020.
"I like their captain a lot. KL Rahul is a terrific player and I have kept him at the No.1 spot. He can be the best Indian player in this IPL. I feel this year will be very good for him, it is his first year as a captain and I really hope that he does well."
Aakash Chopra chose KL Rahul's Karnataka teammate Mayank Agarwal as the other opener in his ideal Kings XI Punjab team, preferring him over Chris Gayle.
"At No.2, I have got Mayank Agarwal. So Chris Gayle is not able to make it to my ideal XI at the beginning. I feel Mayank Agarwal will also do well. Both are fast friends and known each other from their younger days and they help each other out."
The former KKR player mentioned that Kings XI Punjab could opt to play Karun Nair or Mandeep Singh at the No. 3 position, and named the spot as one of the concerns for the franchise.
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"At No.3, I have got Karun Nair/Mandeep Singh. You can play either of them, it is not going to make a huge difference because both have had okay performances. Karun Nair did not have a great first-class season and Mandeep Singh's IPL numbers are not earth-shattering. At No.3, it is a bit of an issue is what I feel."
Nicholas Pooran was Aakash Chopra's pick for the No. 4 spot in his preferred Kings XI Punjab team, with the left-hander exhibiting excellent form of late and also capable of performing the wicket-keeping duties if required.
"At No.4, I am going with Nicholas Pooran. The form he had shown in the few matches he had played last year and then after that for the West Indies and now in the CPL means that he is going to take a lot of bowlers on remand. He can also keep instead of Rahul."
Aakash Chopra chose Glenn Maxwell to bat at No. 5 for Kings XI Punjab, with the latter's outstanding record in the UAE and improvements shown in the last 18 months expected to hold him in good stead.
"At No.5, I have got Glenn Maxwell. I have hope from both Pooran and Maxwell that they will do well. Maxwell will not only do well because it is in the UAE, but because he was improved a lot in the last 18 months."
Sarfaraz Khan was the reputed commentator's choice as the finisher at No. 6 for Kings XI Punjab, considering the Mumbaikar's breathtaking form in the last Ranji season.
"At No.6, Sarfaraz Khan. If the IPL had happened in April, he would have been a runaway match-winner. The form he was in with his triple hundreds and double hundreds and he has shown maturity of late. I have kept him at No.4 because he can do the job at that position which Karun Nair/Mandeep Singh can't."
Aakash Chopra's selection of bowlers in his ideal Kings XI Punjab team
Aakash Chopra picked Krishnappa Gowtham at the No. 7 spot in his ideal Kings XI Punjab team, with the Karnataka off-spinner capable of handling the willow as well.
"At No.7, I have got Krishnappa Gowtham. They have taken him from Rajasthan Royals and he bats well. He will have to bat well as the depth in batting has been their issue."
Chris Jordan was the overseas seamer picked up by Aakash Chopra, considering the former's ability to contribute runs with the bat.
"At No.8, Chris Jordan who can bat and bowl and is an excellent fielder."
Afghanistan mystery spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman was the final overseas pick in Aakash Chopra's preferred Kings XI Punjab team, considering his prowess both with the new and the old ball.
"Mujeeb Ur Rahman is an amazing player whom I have kept at No.9. The sort of performances he has done in the CPL and his stature as a bowler both with the new and old ball, he takes a lot of wickets."
The 42-year-old went for India Under-19 leggie Ravi Bishnoi as the other spinner in his ideal Kings XI Punjab team, and said that he hopes Anil Kumble would be able to extract the best out of him.
"At No.10, I am picking Ravi Bishnoi. He did very well in the under-19 World Cup and you can expect wickets from him although he might get hit at times. But Anil Kumble should be able to get the best out of him."
Aakash Chopra rounded off his Kings XI Punjab outfit by naming Mohammed Shami as the final player, and pointed out that the franchise's seam bowling attack appears to be on the weaker side.
"At No.11, I have got Mohammed Shami. Fast bowling is looking a little weak even if you play Sheldon Cottrell or Hardus Viljoen."
Aakash Chopra signed off by stating that Kings XI Punjab are unlikely to fulfil their dreams of a maiden IPL title this year as well, even though KL Rahul might come up with some outstanding performances.
"In total, Kings XI Punjab may not be able to come close to winning this tournament despite KL Rahul's amazing performances. Their search for their first title may not end even in 2020."
Aakash Chopra's ideal Kings XI Punjab playing XI: KL Rahul (c), Mayank Agarwal, Karun Nair/Mandeep Singh, Nicholas Pooran, Glenn Maxwell, Sarfaraz Khan, Krishnappa Gowtham, Chris Jordan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Ravi Bishnoi, Mohammed Shami
Published 14 Sep 2020, 12:04 IST