Former Indian opener Aakash Chopra has opined that the slightly weaker bowling attack of Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) will increase the responsibilities of captain KL Rahul. He made this observation while doing a SWOT analysis of the franchise before IPL 2020.
While talking about the strengths of Kings XI Punjab, Aakash Chopra pointed out the runaway match-winners that the team possesses, with KL Rahul leading the pack. The Karnataka batsman was in exemplary form before the lockdown-forced break.
"Kings XI Punjab have some runaway match-winners. If you look at the form and strength, you should first see KL Rahul, he is very close to my heart. He has a unique style of playing and if you see his performances recently, before the 6-month break, he has been absolutely sensational."
The reputed commentator even labelled KL Rahul as India's best batsman, and one of the best in world cricket, in the shortest format of the game over the last one and a half years or so.
"In fact, he is India's best T20 batsman over the last 16-18 months. Even if you talk about world cricket, he is one of the best the world has seen right now. So he is one of their big strengths."
Aakash Chopra also spoke highly about Kings XI Punjab middle-order batsman Nicholas Pooran while highlighting the blazing century the left-hander had scored in the recently concluded CPL.
"Nicholas Pooran, the form he is coming in with, you will remember his century off 45 deliveries in the CPL. He also plays spin well, I actually rate him very highly. If you get a left-hander like that in the middle order, I am sure he will be very good if he is utilised well."
The former KKR player opined that Glenn Maxwell could prove to be the game-changer for Kings XI Punjab in IPL 2020.
"Glenn Maxwell, I feel this year he is going to fire and rock. He could actually be that game-changer."
Aakash Chopra named Mujeeb Ur Rahman as the other big strength for Kings XI Punjab, with the Afghanistan mystery spinner coming into the IPL in sensational wicket-taking form from the CPL.
"Last but not the least, Mujeeb Ur Rahman. How many wickets he took in the CPL, whether with the new ball or the old ball he was up to the mark every single time."
Aakash Chopra on the impact of Kings XI Punjab captaincy on KL Rahul's game
While naming KL Rahul as the Most Valuable Player and the Tournament Protector for Kings XI Punjab in IPL 2020, Aakash Chopra hoped that the opening batsman will score plenty of runs and make match-winning contributions.
"KL Rahul anyway is a special batsman, who we all hope will score a lot of runs and win them matches."
The 42-year-old observed that the impact of the additional responsibility of captaincy on KL Rahul's game could prove to be the defining factor for Kings XI Punjab in IPL 2020.
"This time he is the captain as well. That I think is going to be the critical component, what captaincy does to him. Because if it brings the best out of him, then the other teams need to be scared but sometimes the team is not doing well and it is your first captaincy stint, you put a lot of pressure on yourself."
Aakash Chopra signed off by pointing out that KL Rahul would have a lot of things on his plate if he keeps wickets, with the slightly weaker bowling lineup of Kings XI Punjab elevating his role as captain as well.
"If he keeps as well, he will have to perform three roles - keeping, batting, captaincy. And when your bowling is a little weak compared to the other teams, the captain's role will become even bigger."
Kings XI Punjab will have the option to hand over the wicket-keeping gloves to Nicholas Pooran if they want to relieve KL Rahul from that role and let him concentrate on his batting and captaincy.
Published 15 Sep 2020, 09:36 IST