Indian Premier League 2015 has already got off to a flying start with terrific performances from several star players as well as a few youngsters of various teams. The only team which promised much on paper but till now has not quite played up to their expectations is Kings XI Punjab. Before the IPL 2015 started, they were one of the most balanced teams in the competition with a nice blend of experienced foreign players and a few promising Indian youngsters.
The Kings XI Punjab team management had retained most of the players that played for them last year and it was pretty justified as they had made the finals in IPL 2014. The team also purchased a certain Murali Vijay in the auctions just to have a little more experience in their batting order. On paper they had one of the best batting line-ups in this year’s IPL. The likes of Virender Sehwag, Glenn Maxwell, David Miller, George Bailey can cause massive destruction on their days. Punjab also had a pretty balanced bowling set up with Mitchell Johnson spearheading it.
Previous year’s runners-up got off to a nice start with a couple of wins under their belt but soon after, they just stumbled with a flood of defeats. Naturally, the obvious question that has arisen due to their successive losses is whether it’s simply a bunch of over-rated players.
So far in this season, their batting has never clicked and their bowling looks a bit out of sort with the youngster Sandeep Sharma being the lone successful bowler. Anureet Singh may have taken 10 wickets but his economy is on the higher side. And precisely that is why they needed Mitchell Johnson in his usual best. Johnson has picked up a few wickets but the problem with him too is the economy. The Aussie speed-star has given away runs at an economy of 9.05 per over and that is definitely adding to their woes. However, in my opinion, the main cause behind their defeats has been their listless batting. Internationally acclaimed players like Maxwell, Miller, Marsh, Sehwag, Vijay are not quite performing up to the expectations of their team.
Maxwell has scored runs at a very poor average of 12.40 and with a highest score of only 33, he is certainly not helping the team’s cause. Miller too hasn’t looked good in this year’s IPL with just a fifty under in his belt. Both of them had to be dropped off and on. On the other hand, Virender Sehwag has looked completely out of colour in this year’s IPL with a dismal average of 13.85. He is certainly not getting the team off to those racing starts which are expected from him. Perhaps age is taking a toll on one of India’s most devastating openers. Murali Vijay has been a bit more consistent than Sehwag but he is not someone who can take full advantage of the powerplay overs.
Other than the captain, the only couple of players, who have performed consistently for Kings XI, are Sandeep Sharma and Axar Patel. Sandeep has swung the new ball prodigiously and has been able to contain the opposition batsmen. Axar also has chipped in with all-round performances.
It’s no wonder that Kings XI Punjab are at the bottom of the table in spite of having all those big names. All these players have not been able to play up to their expectations this year. Maybe it’s time that the Punjab team management put their thinking caps on and started reviewing their recruits. Probably they should start thinking about buying utility players like Andre Russell (KKR), Dwayne Bravo (CSK) or Shakib Al Hasan (KKR) rather than buying players of great repute during the next IPL auctions. T20 is such a format of cricket where one needs maximum number of consistent and useful all-rounders in their teams if they want to increase their chances of winning.