How the Kings XI Punjab made a mistake by retaining only one player
Kings XI Punjab retained only Axar Patel despite having a plethora of reliable foreign players at their disposal.
Kings XI Punjab has been quite disappointing in the Indian Premier League for the last 3-4 years. Punjab, in the bowling department, has been very poor. Quality talents such as Sandeep Sharma have been produced, but lack of quality foreign bowlers and spinners has cost KXIP big time.
This time, yet again, Punjab has disappointed with their retentions. Before the IPL auctions, when each team was given a chance to retain any three players, Punjab decided to retain only one player in the form of Axar Patel.
Axar Patel has given the side some brilliant all-round performances over the past few years and has been a handy all-rounder, so one can understand the rationale behind retaining him. However, Axar Patel's retention will cost the Kings XI Punjab a hefty sum of ₹12.5 crores. One might argue that Punjab could've gotten the player for much less in the auction. Also, retaining only Axar Patel might turn out to be a bad decision.
Punjab had some world class foreigners in the squad - an explosive T20 specialist in Glenn Maxwell, a sound opener in Hashim Amla, A handy all-rounder in Marcus Stoinis, and a hard-hitting middle-order batsman in David Miller. In case Punjab had the plans to show the Right to match (RTM) card and take back their foreigners, this plan too wasn't well executed.
A team can make use of the RTM for a maximum of three times and retain a maximum of three players. The team which retains three players only get two RTM cards, while the team which retains 2 or lesser players can use the RTM thrice. Keeping these facts in mind, Punjab should have retained at least two players. When there was an option of having five of the best squad members back in the side, the opportunity should have been utilized completely.
Now that a mistake has been made, Punjab should forget that and think about the players they are going to get back using the RTM card. The management will have to build the team from scratch.
Punjab failed to pick up any sort of form last season and it was indeed one to forget for them. But, the only positives they took from the season were Amla's consistent performances, Sandeep's early swinging deliveries which built the pressure on the openers, and Vohra's handy knocks. The best three that Punjab could show the RTM card are these three itself.
However, with the options of Maxwell, Miller, and Stoinis available, the management might look to fulfil their foreigners' quota first before looking for some young talents. Maxwell has done pretty well in domestic cricket recently and Miller has been in splendid form. It isn't going to be easy for Punjab, but they'll need to make sure that they make a balanced side this time that is capable of contesting for the IPL crown.