Former Indian opener Aakash Chopra has opined that the Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) should not retain Chris Gayle if there is a mega-auction, as the big-hitting Jamaican is unlikely to play for another three years.
He made this observation while talking about the possible strategies the KL Rahul-led team could adopt in the IPL 2021 auction in a video shared on his YouTube channel.
Aakash Chopra started by pointing out that the Kings XI Punjab will have to replenish their fast bowling resources. While Chris Jordan, Sheldon Cottrell and Jimmy Neesham did not cover themselves in glory in IPL 2020, Hardus Viljoen did not get to play a single game for the franchise.
"About the suggestions for 2021, they will have to improve in their bowling. Jordan, Cottrell, Neesham, Hardus Viljoen - none of them is a good runaway fast bowler, no one who could give you the bowling at the death."
The renowned commentator highlighted that the profligacy of their bowling in the death overs was one of the primary reasons for the Kings XI Punjab having a dismal run in their first seven matches of the tournament.
"If you do not get the death bowling, then your problem will remain. Kings XI Punjab did recover later on but in the first 7 matches they were conceding 54 runs on an average in the last 3 overs. How will you win matches if you keep on doing that?"
Apart from acquiring overseas pace bowlers, Aakash Chopra wants the Kings XI Punjab to pick a middle-order batsman in place of the underperforming Glenn Maxwell.
"So they will have to hire overseas recruits there, somehow get them into the team, however expensive they might be. If they can get a middle-order batsman instead of Maxwell, they should go for him."
Aakash Chopra on the possible retentions for Kings XI Punjab at the IPL 2021 auction
Aakash Chopra observed that the Kings XI Punjab will have to be wary of retaining Chris Gayle if there is a mega-auction before IPL 2021, as they would want to keep players who will definitely be around for the next three years.
"They will have to think about Chris Gayle, if they can think about him for the next IPL or the IPL after that. Because if it is a mega-auction, which is a possibility, then you will have to start thinking ahead that who will stay with you for the next three years."
The former KKR player opined that the Kings XI Punjab should let go of Chris Gayle and retain Nicholas Pooran instead.
"I would not retain Gayle. I will let him go. If someone has to be retained, I will retain Nicholas Pooran."
"So, if you talk about the retentions, they would be Rahul, Mayank, Pooran and Shami. These would be the four players whom I will retain or use the 'Right to Match' card."
Aakash Chopra signed off by naming Ravi Bishnoi, Arshdeep Singh, Deepak Hooda and Murugan Ashwin as some of the other young Indian players in whom the Kings XI Punjab can show interest.
"I will also think about Ravi Bishnoi and may be Arshdeep, Deepak Hooda and Murugan Ashwin - these will be my 2-3 other guys on whom I will keep an eye on."
There is no clarity yet on the IPL 2021 auction and the number of retentions that will be allowed. But the Kings XI Punjab will certainly want to retain KL Rahul, Mayank Agarwal, Nicholas Pooran and Mohammed Shami, as these four players were the standout performers for the franchise in IPL 2020.
Published 18 Nov 2020, 11:21 IST