The Punjab Kings' campaign in IPL 2020 was derailed because of their shortcomings in the same two areas. While Glenn Maxwell and Jimmy Neesham came a cropper with the bat, Sheldon Cottrell and Chris Jordan proved to be letdowns in the bowling department.
In a video shared on his YouTube channel, Aakash Chopra pinpointed the lack of depth in the Punjab Kings batting department as their biggest weakness.
"All teams have weaknesses and so is the case with this team. But a couple of them are slightly more evident in this team. One is the lower-middle order. It seems to be not that strong," said Chopra.
While observing the Punjab Kings have a strong top four, the cricketer-turned-commentator highlighted the lack of experience in their Indian middle-order batting would necessitate the inclusion of Moises Henriques in their playing XI.
"Till No.4 they have Pooran. After that Deepak Hooda, he played one good game last time. Then Moises Henriques, if they play him, I think they should. If he comes at No.6, it seems you have got depth and then you will have Shahrukh Khan, Mandeep or Sarfaraz at No.7. It is not the ideal for an uncapped Indian player to bat at No.7," added Chopra.
The absence of a quality all-rounder barring Moises Henriques could prove to be the Achilles heel for the Punjab Kings in IPL 2021. It was certainly surprising that they did not secure the services of players like Shakib Al Hasan or Kyle Jamieson at the auction, considering the huge purse at their disposal.
"Punjab Kings' death bowling has been a concern" - Aakash Chopra
Aakash Chopra pointed out the Punjab Kings' death bowling as another of their problem areas, with even Mohammed Shami facing the music at times.
"Their death bowling has been a concern. Shami does well but he can also be expensive. There was no one to give him company. Arshdeep used to bowl, Chris Jordan was very expensive," said Chopra.
The 43-year-old concluded by stating that the Punjab Kings might only be able to field one overseas seamer despite spending huge sums on both Jhye Richardson and Riley Meredith.
"They have taken Jhye Richardson but they will not be able to play him and Riley Meredith together. In fact, only one out of Jhye, Meerdith and Jordan should play and according to me that will be Jhye. So hopefully that death over conundrum will be sorted out but it is a slight problem," signed off Chopra.
The Punjab Kings will hope that their death-bowling issues from last year do not come to haunt them in IPL 2021 again. They will also hope that Shami has regained full fitness after the fracture he suffered to his bowling arm during the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.