PBKS look good on paper

Punjab Kings are quite easily the underachievers of the Indian Premier League (IPL). Ever since making the semi-finals in 2008, PBKS, earlier Kings XI Punjab, had made the playoffs just once – in 2014 – where they lost to Kolkata Knight Riders in the final. In fact, they’ve been the bottom dwellers three times and been in the bottom half of the table in 13 seasons.

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That was also the case last IPL season when they finished with seven wins and seven defeats from 14 matches to finish sixth in the table. At no point did the Mayank Agarwal-led side string two wins together.

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With the objective of arresting this sorry record, PBKS retained a huge chunk of their squad with the notable release being that of Shahrukh Khan. And at the auction, they acquired the services of Harshal Patel (Rs 11.75 crore), Chris Woakes (Rs 4.20 crore), Ashutosh Sharma (Rs 20 lakh), Vishwanath Singh (Rs 20 lakh), Shashank Singh (Rs 20 lakh), Tanay Thyagarajan (Rs 20 lakh), Prince Choudhary (Rs 20 lakh) and Rilee Rossouw (Rs 8 crore).

Pre auction gaps

For PBKS, the key areas of focus before the auction might have been an overseas spinner and a frontline seamer. The squad already had Kagiso Rabada and Arshdeep Singh to lead the seam bowling department. In the spinners category, PBKS had leg-spinner Rahul Chahar and left-arm spinner Harpreet Brar, with all-rounders Sikandar Raza and Liam Livingstone expected to pitch in. Further, the team would have been hoping to find backup options in the batting.

The strengths

PBKS do look good on paper with a well balanced squad. But then again, that has mostly been the case for Punjab in the IPL. They’ve had the squad, some good names and difference makers but lacked consistency to seriously make a challenge. Inclusion of Chris Woakes and Harshal Patel will help them significantly as bowlers who can also bat. They might not walk into the playing XI ahead of Jonny Bairstow and Sam Curran but are great backups.

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The team has also ticked a box in finding backup in the batting department with South Africa’s Rilee Rossouw coming into the fold.

The weaknesses

Having released Shahrukh Khan, PBKS did raise quite an alarm. Now that they’ve chosen not to retain him or bring him back from the auction – while also not solidifying the middle-order with an Indian batter, that could come back to hurt them during the season.

PBKS’ Best Buy: Harshal Patel

PBKS’ Worst Buy: Well, maybe their disorganised self is the biggest faux pas from the auction. They first lifted the padel for Shashank Singh, then realised they didn’t want him, and tried to unsuccessfully un-buy him. Was definitely chaotic and looked extremely unprofessional on the PBKS’ part.

Players bought by PBKS at IPL 2024 Auction: Harshal Patel (Rs 11.75 crore), Chris Woakes (Rs 4.20 crore), Ashutosh Sharma (Rs 20 lakh), Vishwanath Singh (Rs 20 lakh), Shashank Singh (Rs 20 lakh), Tanay Thyagarajan (Rs 20 lakh), Prince Choudhary (Rs 20 lakh), Rilee Rossouw (Rs 8 crore)

PBKS full squad: Arshdeep Singh, Atharva Taide, Harpreet Brar, Harpreet Bhatia, Jitesh Sharma, Jonny Bairstow, Kagiso Rabada, Liam Livingstone, Nathan Ellis, Prabhsimran Singh, Rahul Chahar, Rishi Dhawan, Sam Curran, Shikhar Dhawan, Shivam Singh, Sikandar Raza, Vidwath Kaverappa, Harshal Patel, Chris Woakes, Ashutosh Sharma, Vishwanath Singh, Shashank Singh, Tanay Thyagarajan, Prince Choudhary, Rilee Rossouw

PBKS Purse left: Rs 4.15 crore

PBKS Slots remaining: 0 (overseas – 0)

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