The Punjab Kings failed to qualify for the playoffs in IPL 2020. They released a few of their big-ticket players like Glenn Maxwell and Sheldon Cottrell ahead of the IPL 2021 auction and invested heavily in a couple of Aussie pacers in the form of Jhye Richardson and Riley Meredith.
Aakash Chopra went with KL Rahul and Chris Gayle as the openers in his ideal Punjab Kings XI, while hoping that they field Moises Henriques as a seam-bowling all-rounder.
"I will be going with KL Rahul and Gayle as the openers, Mayank Agarwal at No.3, Pooran at No.4, Hooda at No.5 and Moises Henriques at No.6. You should please play Henriques as he will add that balance to your side," said Chopra.
The former KKR player feels the Punjab Kings can choose between Shahrukh Khan, Mandeep Singh and Sarfaraz Khan for the final batting position.
"At No.7, you can have anyone. You can play Shahrukh, Mandeep or Sarfaraz - whoever you play it won't make any difference. But if you have this kind of batting, you can play with a lot of freedom, something that they should do this season," added Chopra.
The Punjab Kings might go with Shahrukh Khan in their playing XI, considering his recent form and big-hitting abilities. He can also give the team a couple of overs if the need arises.
Aakash Chopra's pick of specialist bowlers in his ideal Punjab Kings XI
Aakash Chopra picked a couple of seamers and spinners each to complete his preferred Punjab Kings playing XI. He added Arshdeep Singh can replace one of the spinners on seamer-friendly surfaces.
"Then four bowlers - Ashwin, Bishnoi, Mohammed Shami and Jhye Richardson. This will be my team, if you feel that you need to play one less spinner, you have Arshdeep as an option available," said Chopra.
It will be interesting to see if the Punjab Kings field Moises Henriques as an all-rounder, or play either Chris Jordan or Riley Meredith as their fourth overseas professional to bolster their somewhat weaker bowling department.