New Delhi [India], April 5 (ANI): The boys from Punjab will walk into the 14th edition of the Indian Premier League with a new name. Formerly known as Kings XI Punjab, the franchise decided to rechristen themselves as Punjab Kings. But the biggest question on the mind of the fans would be whether a change in name can change the team's fortune in the cash-rich league.
Having made it to the final only once in 2014, the team would definitely look to change the fortunes under an in-form skipper - KL Rahul. While the team looks well-balanced on paper, it is time to convert potential into performance.
Led by an astute Rahul and coached by Anil Kumble, the side has a great mix of foreign and Indian talents. But the execution has been an issue and even last season, while the team put on some quality performances, consistency was an issue.
Coming to the batting firepower, international stars like Chris Gayle, Rahul, Nicholas Pooran and Dawid Malan are enough to turn the match at any given point. While Mayank Agarwal might not have set the international stage on fire as yet, he has been one of the vital cogs of the Punjab batting line-up and provides quite a solid start at the top with skipper Rahul.
The homegrown talent is no less impressive with Sarfaraz Khan, Shahrukh Khan, Deepak Hooda and Mandeep Singh looking to pitch-in when the big boys have an off day.
Moving on to the all-rounders, while the side released Glenn Maxwell, Fabian Allen and Moises Henriques are the foreign options available and there is enough back-up with Jalaj Saxena and Utkarsh Singh in the squad.
The pace-bowling attack has a classy look to it with Mohammad Shami leading the pack in the company of Chris Jordan, Jhye Richardson, Arshdeep Singh and Riley Meredith. The spin-attack will be headed by U19 World Cup star Ravi Bishnoi while Murugan Ashwin and Saurabh Kumar are also in the squad to extend their support.
Bishnoi had a great debut season in the UAE in 2020 but the lack of international experience in the spin department can cost them in any particular game.
Skipper Rahul also has back-up in the wicket-keeping department with Pooran and Prabhsimran Singh capable of donning the big gloves. In their first clash, Punjab Kings will take on Rajasthan Royals at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai and it is important that they start well.
Punjab Kings squad: KL Rahul (c), Chris Gayle, Mayank Agarwal, Dawid Malan, Deepak Hooda, Mandeep Singh, Sarfaraz Khan, Shahrukh Khan, Nicholas Pooran, Ishan Porel, Murugan Ashwin, Mohammed Shami, Chris Jordan, Ravi Bishnoi, Harpreet Brar, Prabhsimran Singh, Darshan Nalkande, Arshdeep Singh, Jhye Richardson, Riley Meredith, Moises Henriques, Jalaj Saxena, Utkarsh Singh, Fabian Allen, Saurabh Kumar. (ANI)