Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) had a subpar IPL 2020 season as they failed to book a place in the playoffs. Although they lost six of their first seven games, most were close contests which could have gone either way.
The likes of KL Rahul and Mayanak Agarwal shone with the bat, with the former finishing as IPL 2020's leading run-scorer. KXIP also enjoyed a terrific run of five wins on the trot when Chris Gayle returned to the team.
However, there were several glaring issues for Kings XI Punjab last season, such as poor performances at the death, both with the bat and ball.
3 released players who could strengthen Kings XI Punjab
With the highest kitty available in the IPL 2021 Auction, Kings XI Punjab will be determined to undergo a revamp of sorts. They will look to add some stellar names to their ranks to fare better in the upcoming season. Here are three released players who could be smart buys for KXIP.
#3 Harbhajan Singh
Kings XI Punjab brought in off-spinner Krishnappa Gowtham from Rajasthan Royals during the IPL 2020 trade window. However, he had a really poor season. Gowtham played just two games and was taken to the cleaners by the opponents.
KXIP had to release Gowtham and are in need of an experienced off-spinner. This is exactly where Harbhajan Singh fits the bill for them. He is fifth on the IPL's all-time highest wicket-taker list, with 150 scalps to his name.
Although Harbhajan is in the twilight of his career, he is still a genuine match-winner. Winning four IPL trophies - three with Mumbai Indians and one with Chennai Super Kings - the 40-year-old has enough experience to perform in big matches.
A move to the home franchise would give Harbhajan that extra motivation to do well. With a number of young spinners available at the auction, it will be interesting to see whether KXIP sign the veteran off-spinner.
#2 Chris Morris
Chris Morris is one of the top all-rounders, especially in the T20 format. The 33-year-old was snapped up by the Royal Challengers Bangalore at the IPL 2020 Auction. He did well for RCB with the ball, picking up 11 wickets in nine games.
Many were surprised when Royal Challengers Bangalore decided to release Morris ahead of the IPL 2021 season. The South African is likely to be on the radar of several teams, including Kings XI Punjab. The absence of an overseas fast bowler, who would support the likes of Mohammed Shami, thwarted the franchise's progress last season.
Morris fits the bill perfectly and can also use the long handle effectively, giving Kings XI Punjab some much-needed batting depth. With the kind of kitty available to them, KXIP will fancy themselves to secure Morris' services.
#1 Steve Smith
Former Rajasthan Royals skipper Steve Smith had a pretty ordinary IPL 2020 campaign, managing just 311 runs in 14 games. He was also unable to lead his team to the playoffs after losing a do-or-die game against the Kolkata Knight Riders.
RR took the bold decision to release the Australian star ahead of the IPL 2021 Auction. He will surely be one of the hot properties at the auction, with several teams eyeing his signature.
Kings XI Punjab will likely bid for Smith as they need solidity in their middle-order. The 31-year-old could hold one end, giving the likes of Rahul, Gayle, Agarwal and Nicholas Pooran the freedom to express themselves.
Smith also possesses the ability to change gears as and when required and could be an asset to the Kings XI Punjab. Only time will tell whether KXIP will be able to snap up the former Australian skipper at the IPL 2021 live Auction.