IPL 2018: SWOT analysis of the Kings XI Punjab
The Kings XI Punjab have never lifted the IPL trophy. The closest they have got is to be the runners-up in 2014 which has been followed by a string of poor performances. KXIP had reached the semi finals in the opening season of the league but since then they have dished out some very ordinary performances other than 2014.
The major reason for this has been an unsettled squad led by a Captain who has not garnered enough support from the team management. From Yuvraj Singh, Kumar Sangakkara , Adam Gilchrist, David Hussey, George Bailey, David Miller, Murali Vijay and Glenn Maxwell to Ravichandran Ashwin now, KXIP have tried far too many Captains without giving anyone an extended run.
Virender Sehwag, a vital cog in the KXIP think tank, said on the sidelines of team’s jersey launch, “The kind of team we have this year, we can win the championship. We have spent a lot of money on some of the players, so hopefully they will do the job. This surely is the best KXIP team in the last 10 years”.
Considering this, let us have a look at the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of the Kings XI Punjab in this year’s IPL 2018.
Australian pacer Andrew Tye is the biggest strength of KXIP. Tye is an invaluable bowler in the shortest format and his variations make him one of the toughest bowlers to pick. He had an outstanding IPL 2017 – before succumbing to injury – which saw him clinch a hat trick against Rising Pune Supergiant on debut. The Aussie has a sensational overall T20 average under 20 and can be the star performer for KXIP this year.
In the batting department, Mayank Agarwal has been in great nick recently and has been consistently knocking at the door for a national selection. Having amassed more than 2000 runs in the first class season, Agarwal is in the form of his life and if he can keep himself going in the same fashion, KXIP have a chance to make it big in the tournament.
Punjab may have established a solid batting lineup but there are still some unanswered questions as far as their bowling is concerned. Ravichandran Ashwin, Axar Patel and Mujeeb Ur Rahman present them with adequate spin options but the real trouble for them is pace bowling. Apart from Andrew Tye, one cannot see any extraordinary talent in the side.
Mohit Sharma hasn’t had much match practice since the last IPL and Barinder Singh Sran has had an ordinary Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy. Also, if the injury-prone Andrew Tye fails to feature in all the matches, KXIP do not have a backup bowler of the same caliber. Tye’s compatriot Ben Dwarshuis has performed well in the BBL and can be an option but he does not match up to the death bowling skills of the former.
Ravichandran Ashwin missed the 2017 season of the IPL due to injury and has been sidelined from the national limited overs team. This year, he not only makes a comeback to the league but has also been made the Captain. It would be a great opportunity for him both at the personal front and at the team’s level to step up his game and lead the team to the top of the points table.
KL Rahul is another batsman who has been in and out of the Indian team. Despite some spectacular performances, he has had to sit out due to the tremendous amount of competition in the national team. Most cricket pundits rate Rahul very highly as a batman. He would probably be slotted at No. 3 in the batting order and would be the mainstay of the KXIP batting.
With Aaron Finch, KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal, KXIP have formidable firepower at the top of the order. However, the inconsistency of Yuvraj Singh and David Miller in the middle order can prove to be costly for Punjab. Although, both of them are gifted strikers of the ball, they have been bowing hot and cold for a long time. If they do not mend their ways, KXIP may fall 15 to 20 runs short of the par score.
As far as the captaincy is concerned, Ravi Ashwin is no fledgling ling when it comes to leading the side. Apart from leading Tamil Nadu in the Ranji Trophy, Ashwin has also captained Dindigul Dragons in the Tamil Nadu Premier League and is known to possess a sharp cricketing brain. However, he may find it tough to deal with hotshots like Chris Gayle and Yuvraj Singh as there may be times when he may have to exclude them from the playing XI. Also, Sehwag did not share a very amicable rapport with the preceding Captain Glen Maxwell and the last thing that KXIP would want is another clash of egos in their dressing room.
© Cricket World 2018