Former Indian captain Sunil Gavaskar has picked his ideal playing XI for the Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) for IPL 2020. He mentioned that the franchise has a weak bowling line-up and stated that the batsmen should make up for this.
Sunil Gavaskar carried out this exercise of picking the strongest possible KXIP lineup during an interaction on Sports Tak.
On being asked if he would like KXIP to open the batting with Chris Gayle, the reputed commentator responded that he would definitely go for him at the outset, even though the West Indian might struggle a bit on the slow UAE pitches.
"They should give opportunities to Chris Gayle in the beginning. He makes a slightly slow start, even in the tournament he might make a slow start. And he might find it difficult on the slow pitches. Also everyone knows that if you confront Chris Gayle with a spinner at the start, he finds it a little difficult."
Sunil Gavaskar mentioned that he will have KL Rahul open the batting with the Jamaican, since this would give KXIP a perfect left-right opening pair.
"Against fast bowlers, he uses their pace to hit the big sixes and fours. But I will still play him and he will also give the left-right opening combination with KL Rahul. And he has experience, if he clicks he will score runs quickly."
The former Indian opener opted for Mayank Agarwal and Nicholas Pooran as the No. 3 and No. 4 batsmen in his ideal KXIP XI.
"At No.3, I will have Mayank Agarwal. At No.4, I will send Nicholas Pooran. He is another left-hander."
The young Sarfaraz Khan got Sunil Gavaskar's vote for the No. 5 position in his preferred KXIP XI, considering the stocky Mumbaikar's terrific form in the last domestic season.
"At No.5, I will have Sarfaraz Khan because the form he has shown in the last season, the number of runs he scored, he even scored a triple century and a double century. The sort of confidence he has, I agree there have been 8-9 months since the end of that season, but he will be able to score a lot of runs because of that."
The septuagenarian picked Glenn Maxwell as the last middle-order batsman in his ideal KXIP line-up, and observed that the maverick Australian could go up the order if the team gets off to a great start.
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"At No.6, I have Glenn Maxwell who can be sent at No.4 as well. If Rahul and Gayle give a good start, then Maxwell can go at No.3 also."
Sunil Gavaskar's selection of bowlers in his ideal KXIP playing XI
Sunil Gavaskar opted for Mujeeb Ur Rahman as the first bowler in his ideal KXIP playing XI, considering the help he is likely to get from the UAE pitches.
"I will play Mujeeb because the pitches will be slow and he can bowl well on those pitches."
He named Mohammed Shami as an obvious pick as a pacer in the KXIP team.
"Mohammed Shami has to be there."
Sunil Gavaskar picked Ravi Bishnoi as one of the other spinners, considering the youngster's exploits at the under-19 World Cup.
"Ravi Bishnoi, who was there in the under-19 team, I will play him in the beginning because he will not have that much pressure and expectations of him then but if you play him later, he might feel the pressure."
Sunil Gavaskar rounded off his ideal KXIP playing XI by picking Murugan Ashwin and Ishan Porel as the final two bowlers.
"I will also play Murugan Ashwin and Ishan Porel, another young player."
Sunil Gavaskar's ideal KXIP playing XI: KL Rahul (c), Chris Gayle, Mayank Agarwal, Nicholas Pooran, Sarfaraz Khan, Glenn Maxwell, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Mohammed Shami, Ravi Bishnoi, Murugan Ashwin, Ishan Porel