Former Indian opener Aakash Chopra has opined that the Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) are in dire straits in IPL 2020 because of their inability to figure out their perfect playing XI.
He made this observation while reviewing the KL Rahul-led side's massive defeat at the hands of the Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) in a video shared on his YouTube channel.
Aakash Chopra pointed out that KXIP might require a Herculean effort to qualify for the IPL playoffs, since the team have just two points from six encounters.
"Kings XI Punjab, is your season almost over? If I think from their angle, can they do a Tewatia because that is only left now because if you have lost 5 out of your 6 matches, then it is an uphill climb."
The reputed commentator highlighted the wholesale changes KXIP have made in their playing XI throughout the IPL.
"The margin with which they have lost, it seems that they are still figuring out and when this figuring out phase becomes a little long because they made 3 changes in this match as well and they are the team to have made the most changes in the IPL thus far."
He added that KXIP are in a grave situation as they have not been able to figure out their ideal combination with almost half of the league stage matches having been played.
"Halfway through the tournament, with six matches done and seven being the exact halfway of the league phase, if you do not know your perfect XI, then you are in trouble."
Aakash Chopra observed that while Mujeeb Ur Rahman's inclusion in the KXIP team for yesterday's match was a welcome change, they also roped in two youngsters who were playing their first encounter in this IPL.
"In today's match, getting Mujeeb in was the right move. They also played Prabhsimran Singh and Arshdeep Singh, both of whom were playing their first matches."
The former KKR player stated that KXIP did not have a steady batting order, with Mandeep Singh pushed down the order in yesterday's encounter.
"They left out Sarfaraz Khan and Mandeep Singh, who was batting at three earlier, was sent down the order. There is a lot of chopping and changing happening at this juncture of their campaign."
Aakash Chopra on KXIP's performance against SRH
Aakash Chopra observed that KXIP managed to restrict SRH to a manageable total due to the efforts of Ravi Bishnoi and Arshdeep Singh but made an inauspicious start to their run chase with Mayank Agarwal's run out after a mix-up with KL Rahul.
"SRH were restricted to a score of 201 runs because of Bishnoi and Arshdeep and that could have been chased. Talking about the KXIP batting, they are dependent on KL Rahul a lot. He is the captain and has more pressure on him. Mayank Agarwal got run out."
The 43-year-old lauded the tremendous knock played by Nicholas Pooran. He lamented the lack of support for the West Indian from the other end, which is something that has been a feature of KXIP's batting throughout the tournament.
"But what an amazing knock Nicholas Pooran played. He required a little support but that is not happening. Sometimes Rahul is left alone, sometimes Mayank is left alone and sometimes Pooran is left alone."
He pointed out that Glenn Maxwell has proved to be a huge let-down for KXIP and that the Australian is likely to be replaced by Chris Gayle for their next encounter.
"And Maxwell's bat is not talking. It has been a huge issue. I feel they will not play Maxwell in the next match, Gayle will play but if he plays where will he bat. Will he open and Mayank will have to bat down the order?"
Aakash Chopra signed off by stating that KXIP have too many problems to resolve at the moment.
"That is something they will have to figure out but they are still struggling to find their right playing XI. There are problems, too many of them and their situation is very bad."
The Kings XI Punjab have been bogged down by inconsistencies in both their batting and bowling departments. While Glenn Maxwell has not delivered for them with the bat, their overseas recruits - Sheldon Cottrell, Chris Jordan and James Neehsam - have given them a lot of selection headaches due to their below-par performances with the ball.
Published 09 Oct 2020, 12:07 IST