Formerly known as Kings XI Punjab, Punjab Kings (PBKS) is a franchise that has faced a lot of bad luck throughout its run so far in the Indian Premier League (IPL). A bright spot for the 2023 season is that they appear to have a balanced squad of 25 players and perhaps have the best chance of finally getting their hands on the trophy. The team is led by Shikhar Dhawan who definitely has a point to prove ahead of the T20 world cup. His batting and leadership skills will be put to the test and the Indian fly-half will be looking to deliver on all fronts and give the Punjab faithful their first ever IPL glory.
The Kings broke the bank to secure the services of England all-rounder Sam Curran, who became the most expensive player in IPL history at INR 18.50 crore after a bidding war between them and Mumbai. The team had let go of longtime player Mayank Agarwal and although they tried to secure his services at last year’s auction, they lost to SunRisers Hyderabad. PBKS has good batting depth and a strong bowling offense. They have quite an impressive foreign contingent, which is absolutely crucial to the success of any team in the league.
However, there are still areas where improvements need to be made. For example, their all-around Indian contingent isn’t that dynamic, nor are their picks when it comes to Indian pacers or spinners. Having a good foreign contingent is one thing, but relying heavily on it is a big mistake. It will be interesting to see how Dhawan plays the cards given to him and how the team performs in the tournament this season. With that in mind, here are the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats for the Kings of Punjab.
Despite losing the highly prolific Jonny Bairstow to injury, the Punjab Kings have a huge foreign contingent to boast of. The likes of Kagiso Rabada, Matthew Short, Liam Livingstone, Sam Curran, Sikandar Raza and Bhanuka Rajapaksa form a dynamic group that covers almost every aspect of the game. The best thing about this batch is that they are all experienced players which have proven themselves in the IPL or outside.
PBKS have a good bowling duo with Arshdeep Singh and Rabada, both of whom can be absolutely threatening to any hitter on their day and turn the game on a pivot. They also have a good spinner in Rahul Chahar who has proven in the past to belong in the starting XI of any IPL team.
The biggest weakness Punjab have to deal with on paper is the lack of a Mayank Agarwal replacement. If we look at the team’s batting mix, Matthew Short can open the bat with Dhawan, followed by Livingstone. After them, there’s really no one who can fill the huge shoes left by Mayank. Sure, one can look at Shahrukh Khan or Jitesh Sharma or even Prabhsimran Singh, but none of these hitters are as consistent or skilled or proven as Mayank.
Another big problem PBKS has on their plates is the lack of an experienced and proven spinner outside of Rahul Chahar.
Perhaps the biggest opportunity for the Punjab Kings this season is the way Shikhar Dhawan is leading the team and playing. Dhawan was one of the best players in the country at one point, but his form went down and his absence from the national team turned quite a few heads. If there’s anything he needs to do this season, it’s prove to everyone that he’s still an outstanding cricketer and leader.
The absence of an established spinner apart from Rahul Chahar is obviously a huge problem for the team. If Chahar doesn’t regain his form or faces an injury, Dhawan will face a huge problem. There will also be issues with the lack of an Indian striker in the squad if any of the starting XI players fall short.
#Strengths #Weaknesses #Opportunities #Threats #Punjab #Kings #IPL
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