IPL 10: SWOT Analysis of Kings XI Punjab
This is a team which found itself at the bottom of the table on three occasions.
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A team that has seen some insecurity, uncertainty and lack of flamboyance, the Kings XI Punjab are yet to make a lasting impression in the history books of the Indian Premier League. Somewhere, the team has lacked that X factor that you would look for in an IPL team. No doubt they have some serious heavyweights in the squad and look a strong side on paper. However, things haven’t fallen in place for KXIP over the years.
At the same time, the team hasn’t been a complete failure either. Looking back at the very first edition of the IPL, it was the Kings XI Punjab who stood at the second position after the completion of the group stage. The team’s best performance came in 2014 when they reached the final of the tournament.
The franchise was a tough opposition to beat in that season and put up a good fight against eventual champions Kolkata Knight Riders on the night of the final. Wriddhiman Saha’s brilliant 100 was a valiant effort as the Knight Riders came out on top with Manish Pandey’s heroics.
Then again, this is the same team which found itself at the bottom of the table on three occasions. Years 2015 and 2016 were rather forgettable for the Kings as they finished with the wooden spoon on back to back editions of the IPL. This is also a team which has seen a total of 8 captains at the helm till date. Australia’s Glenn Maxwell will be the 9th member in the list once the IPL begins for the Kings on Saturday.
The Kings clearly have a considerable paper strength. KXIP’s batting line up has the capacity to take apart any bowling attack. The likes of Glenn Maxwell and David Miller need no introduction about their ability to bludgeon the ball. In Hashim Amla, they have a batsman who emanates class and elegance. More often than not, youngster Manan Vohra has given the Kings a quick start to the innings.
England’s Eoin Morgan can take the game away from the opposition in a span of a couple of overs. Marcus Stoinis has suddenly become a major threat to any bowler following his freak innings against New Zealand. Shaun Marsh grabbed the Orange Cap in the inaugural season of the IPL and has shown good promise with the bat in the test series against India. Darren Sammy, Wriddhiman Saha and Axar Patel can all use the long handle to good effect.
Clearly, the Kings don’t have a shortcoming of a quality batsman in the team. They will look to bank on their batters to put the runs on the board and put the opposition under pressure. KXIP have the key players who can shine in a tough run case as well.
Vulnerability for the Kings XI is most certainly in their bowling attack. The fiery Mitchell Johnson was the only perilous figure in the team’s bowling department, but the Australian speedster was released following the team’s string of poor performances. A newcomer to the side Varun Aaron no doubt has some serious pace on offer, but consistency and accuracy are something the bowler lacks.
Kiwi paceman Matt Henry has recently burst onto the international stage and is often likened with the great Shane Bond for his sheer pace. With a short stint with the Chennai Super Kings, Henry hasn’t had too many opportunities to prove his mettle in the IPL. India’s Mohit Sharma is yet to perform on the big stage and make a case for a recall to the national team following his exclusion.
The spin department is devoid of experience, with Axar Patel spearheading the lot. Mystery spinner KC Kariappa hasn’t been all that mysterious. Rahul Tewatia is a name that hasn’t been much heard off either.
As things stand for the Kings XI Punjab, their bowlers are quite the underdogs. Perhaps the experienced Ishant Sharma’s inclusion to the side, who made a back door entry to the IPL, could be of some encouragement.
In T Natarajan, KXIP has a promising young fast bowler who had a successful domestic season. The Tamil Nadu pacer will look to grab this opportunity with both hands and maintain his consistency in the grand tournament. The IPL has been a breeding ground for young local talent like Natarajan, and the youngster could well go on to don the national jersey in the near future if he delivers on the big stage.
The Kings XI Punjab have shown a lack of trust when it comes to captains. Glenn Maxwell will have a chance to bring in a fresh approach to captaincy this year and will have an opportunity to lead from the front.
Youngster Sandeep Sharma will look to revive his career for India with notable spells in this edition of the IPL. Sandeep has only featured in two T20Is for India against Zimbabwe and is yet to make a debut in the one-dayers.
India Test opener Murali Vijay will have to give this year’s IPL a miss due to a shoulder injury. The Kings XI Punjab will hence lack a steady batsman right at the top of the order. Vijay has been consistent with the bat over the years in the IPL. He has often stepped up to the occasion in the big matches for the CSK.
New Zealand’s big hitting Martin Guptill has also been sidelined for this edition of the IPL. Guptill has been making news with his massive hundreds in ODIs. The Kiwi batsman has the ability to strike the ball to distances and his absence in the squad will leave a void for the Kings XI Punjab.
Punjab has failed to gel as a unit at important junctures which have cost them badly. Despite their indifferent performance over the past 9 years, the franchise mentored by none other than Virender Sehwag wuill surely look to seal their maiden IPL title.
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