Home > Features >

Kings XI Punjab in 2014: Power-packed squad that can go all the way to win their maiden title

George Bailey will be looking to take Kings XI Punjab 9 Getty Images
George Bailey has the ability to lead Kings XI Punjab setup to greater heights © Getty Images

With a strong squad boasting of power-packed players, Kings XI Punjab will look to live up to expectations after an inconsistent run in the last five seasons. Abhijit Banare analyses the squad.

If Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) look back at their past seasons, it’s only those odd special performances which they can feel proud of. But as a team, it hardly clicked together due to lacking in strategy in picking the squad. Yet, Adam Gilchrist did a fine job in dealing with the team and getting the best out of them. But during the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2014 Auction, they have played their cards right and have picked a squad which has the firepower to take it to its maiden IPL title. They retained two players before the auction: the explosive left-hander, David Miller and a promising youngster, Manan Vohra.

Captain: George Bailey

There will be the same old debate of an overseas captain proving to be less effective in the IPL. But Punjab have had a good experience with Gilchrist — the captain, though a lot of that good work was undone with his poor batting. However, in Bailey, Punjab have another shot at the title with an Aussie captain. In Bailey, the franchise has chosen an apt Twenty20 (T20) captain. There are many advantages to this. Bailey already has the experience leading Australia. Unlike the previous season, where Gilchrist had to drop himself, Bailey is a strong T20 batsman and is likely to lead them for the entire season. With a memorable One-Day International (ODI) series in India back in October 2013, Bailey will be more confident of leading Punjab. And perhaps a good place to be back among the runs after a forgettable run for Australia recently.

Key Indian players

Virender Sehwag: Even though he isn’t in the best of form, Sehwag does give an assuring feel for a team at the start of the innings. IPL gives him a great opportunity to come back into limelight.

Rishi Dhawan: Even though his team didn’t qualify for the knockouts of Ranji Trophy, he ended up being the highest wicket-taker. And he’s equally good with the bat down the order. Didn’t get too many opportunities, while playing for Mumbai Indians (MI) though.

Lakshmipathy  Balaji: He has been an under-rated bowler in T20s. He’ll be itching to prove his worth.

Murali Kartik: The only experienced spinner in the squad. He is among the most economical bowlers in the tournament and can tighten the noose from one end even, if he doesn’t pick up wickets

Key Overseas players

Mitchell Johnson: He is going to be the one bowler, every batsman will dread to face. His red hot form started with the IPL last season, while playing for Mumbai.

Glenn Maxwell: He doesn’t need much introduction and also perhaps it is time for him to make an impact on the field rather than hit the headlines for being a high priced player at IPL auctions. He can be a destructive batsman and the earlier he comes to bat in the innings, the better it is for the team.

David Miller: If Maxwell can accelerate, while batting in the top four of the line-up, Miller can provide the finishing touches to an innings. Due to a poor batting line-up last season, Miller had too many things to manage. This time around, the role seems set for him to attack the bowlers with a solid looking batting line-up upfront.

Kings XI Punjab preparing for the IPL 2014 season. Photo Courtesy: Kings XI Punjab Twitter Profile
Kings XI Punjab’s players preparing for the IPL 2014 tournament. Photo Courtesy: Kings XI Punjab Twitter Profile

Other players:

It can be a dilemma for Punjab, while picking their playing XI, especially with overseas players. They have two match-winners in Shaun Marsh and Thisara Perera, but both of them will have to warm the benches with Maxwell, Miller, Bailey and Johnson looking certain to be there in the team.

There’s Wriddhiman Saha, the lone wicketkeeper batsman, Sandeep Sharma is a bright young pacer, who did well in the last edition. There’s Cheteshwar Pujara who is likely to open the batting with Sehwag. Among the overseas players, Burean Hendricks is a skilled South African pacer who makes good use of the slower bouncers.

One of the two retained players, Manan Vohra will be a player to watch out for. Gurkeerat Mann Singh has been there since last season as is pacer, Parvinder Awana. It would be intriguing to see whether Punjab will be able make space for one of the top Ranji Trophy wicket-takers in Anureet Singh.

Strengths

It collectively possesses a batting line-up which can power its way to good totals even in the most testing situations. In Maxwell, they have a batsman who can score against top quality bowling. Sehwag’s ability is always a threat for the opposition. Bailey can be a great batsman to have in the middle-order. The pace bowling department looks settled with Johnson, Parvinder Awana and  Balaji in the setup. This is one team that can chase down big totals and can amass monstrous totals first up.

Weaknesses

One area which the franchise hasn’t focused well is the spinner’s slot. In Kartik, they have a clever, economical spinner. But leg-spinner, Akshar Patel doesn’t have much experience and might be used as a mystery card. If recent records are anything to go by, even United Arab Emirates (UAE) tracks have been conducive for slower bowlers. Another area of concern is that of  Saha. He surely brings solidity to the batting lineup. In case of him having a tough time, the team management though, will have to think twice because there is no other specialist wicketkeeper.

Past records:

Except for the semi-final finish in 2008, Punjab have been hardly impressive in IPL. They missed out narrowly on reaching semi-finals, ending up fifth in 2009. The next year was a forgettable season for them, as they ended up last. In 2011, they again missed out ending up fifth in the points table. And for the next two seasons, they remained sixth in the table.

Click here for IPL 2014 Schedule: Match time table for IPL 7

(Abhijit Banare is a reporter at CricketCountry. He is an avid quizzer and loves to analyse and dig out interesting facts which allows him to learn something new every day. Apart from cricket he also likes to keep a sharp eye on Indian politics, and can be followed on Twitter and blog)

West Indies in South Africa, 2014-15

Dec 17, 2014 (14:00 IST)   at Centurion

India tour of Australia, 2014-15

Dec 17, 2014 (05:29 IST)   at Woolloongabba, Brisbane

Pakistan vs New Zealand in UAE, 2014

Dec 19, 2014 (16:30 IST)   at Abu Dhabi

West Indies in South Africa, 2014-15

Dec 26, 2014 (14:00 IST)   at Port Elizabeth

Sri Lanka tour of New Zealand, 2014-15

Dec 26, 2014 (03:30 IST)   at Christchurch

More

Pakistan vs New Zealand in UAE, 2014

Dec 17, 2014  at Abu Dhabi

New Zealand won by 7 runs

England tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Dec 16, 2014  at Colombo

Sri Lanka won by 87 runs

Pakistan vs New Zealand in UAE, 2014

Dec 14, 2014  at Sharjah

Pakistan won by 147 runs

England tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Dec 13, 2014  at Pallekele

Sri Lanka won by 90 runs

Pakistan vs New Zealand in UAE, 2014

Dec 12, 2014  at Sharjah

New Zealand won by 4 wkts

Photos

India vs Australia, 2nd Test at Brisbane

Videos

Josh Hazlewood looks back at his 5-wicket haul

Pakistan vs New Zealand, 5th ODI at Abu Dhabi: Key clashes

Live Cricket Score, South Africa vs West Indies,1st Test, Day 3 at Centurion: Samuels and Chanderpaul rebuild for West Indies

India vs Australia 2014-15, 2nd Test at Brisbane, Day 3: India reach 71/1 at stumps

Pakistan vs New Zealand 2014, 5th ODI at Abu Dhabi Preview: Teams prepare for high-octane finale

Anil Kumble Australia India Ishant Sharma Moments in history Ravichandran Ashwin Ricky Ponting South Africa

Pakistan vs New Zealand 2014, 5th ODI at Abu Dhabi: Visitors set 276-run target

South Africa skittle out West Indies for 201 at Centurion on Day 3

India vs Australia 2014, 2nd Test at Brisbane Day 3: Visitors leaked too many runs, feels Umesh Yadav

Kane Williamson out on 97; New Zealand 202/3 vs Pakistan

Pakistan vs New Zealand 2014, 5th ODI at Abu Dhabi: Shane Bond named among Kiwi reserve players

India vs Australia, 2nd Test at Brisbane: India’s tail ought to take leaf out of Australian tail’s book

India vs Australia 2nd Test at Brisbane, Day 3: India’s pathetic bowling performance, Mitchell Johnson’s onslaught and other highlights

India’s inability to dismiss Australia’s tail can have huge impact

Pakistan vs New Zealand 2014, 5th ODI at Abu Dhabi: New Zealand likely XI

Pakistan vs New Zealand 2014, 5th ODI at Abu Dhabi: Pakistan likely XI

Fan of the Day

Suraj Gowda

Suraj Gowda

653 Posts | 10 Fans

India vs Australia: Murali Vijay's 144, Video highlights

प्रसिद्ध कथक नृत्यांगना सितारा देवी नहीं रही

More broadband connections to boost GDP growth in Asia Pacific: GSMA

India is becoming our largest overseas market, Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun says

Bigg Boss 8: Ali Quli Mirza, Renee Dhyani, Upen Patel, Praneet Bhatt, Sonali Raut – who should be evicted this week?

Revealed: The reason why Kishore Kumar’s biopic starring Ranbir Kapoor won’t feature Katrina Kaif!

अभिनेत्री प्रियंका चोपड़ा ने स्वच्छ भारत अभियान में हिस्सा लिया

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here