IPL Wins: Nil
Coach: Anil Kumble
Captain: KL Rahul
2020 saw Punjab finish sixth on the ladder, another disappointing result from a franchise that hasn’t made the playoffs for six seasons.
Boasting the 2020 IPL’s highest run-scorer in KL Rahul and having a star-studded team, Punjab will be looking to move up the table. While Rahul and fellow Indian international Mayank Agarwal played well last season, their scoring rates meant the franchise didn’t have the opportunity to post high scores.
One area that was lacking in 2020 was the bowling department. Kumble went to the auction and targeted fast bowlers bringing home Australian pace bowlers Jhye Richardson and Riley Meredith. Richardson went for over 2 million and Meredith 1 million, a considerable amount for untested players at IPL level.
For Punjab, a good mix of attacking and touch batsman means they should push for the playoffs.
Jhye Richardson- The young West Australian quick is Australias most exciting fast bowling prospect since Pat Cummins and the Punjab franchise have invested heavily in early.
Richarson is now a multi-millionaire after receiving 2.5 million in the auction. A considerable amount for an untested player is a high-risk bet. following a prolific BBL season in Australia taking 29 wickets from 14 matches for the Perth Scorchers, the Kings will be hopeful he will have to play a big part in the season if Punjab is to compete with the more prominent franchises.
Richardson has played 67 T20 matches for 82 wickets at an average of 23, exciting and quality numbers. Richardson brings pace and bowls just about every type of slower ball. Performing well in IPL14 could be the difference between playing in the world cup and sitting at home for Richardson.
Nicholas Pooran: The West Indies continue to produce big-hitting batsman, and Pooran is no different. A glorious left-handed batsman, Pooran hits the ball with ease and elegance only seen previously by Brian Lara.
At 25 years of age, Pooran has the opportunity to cement himself as one of the world’s best short-form batters in this IPL. Playing alongside fellow West-Indian Chris Gayle, Pooran will learn a lot and grow as a player even further. The key pillar in the middle order Pooran will need to score even more heavily for Punjab to compete in the playoffs.
The 2020 season was solid from Pooran 353 runs at 35.50, but Pooran can go further. He has the ability and temperament to be the highest run-scorer in the competition. What was most exciting in 2020 was the strike rate of his batting, 169 puts him in the elite category of batsman. Pooran is a superstar, but he can go to the next level with a good 2021 competition.
Player to Watch
Riley Meredith- Shane Warne has been a long-time fan of Meredith, calling for his inclusion in every Australian squad since he burst on the BBL scene. While those calls may have been premature, there is no doubt Meredith is exceptionally talented. There aren’t many bowlers who can deliver the ball at 150kmh or more as consistently as he can.
1.4 million dollars was the reward for the Tasmanian in the auction. Meredith is a proven match-winner at BBL level. He showed he could bring it at the international level by claiming the wicket of Kane Williamson on multiple occasions on Australia’s most recent tour where Merredith made his International debut.
The most exciting part of Meredith’s game is his wicket-taking ability. Forty-seven wickets from his 37 matches are elite. Along with a strike rate of 17, Punjab will need to find the best way to use his skills efficiently. In his first IPL, some would excuse Meredith for taking some time to get into his work, but Punjab will need him to perform from ball one to compete in the playoffs.
Moises Henriques- Australia’s do it all man, Henriques spent the majority of the summer warming the bench in the test side. Henriques offers Punjab a flexible option with both bat and ball. While not a huge hitter he is capable of clearing the fence, and his military mediums are more than handy. Henriques will be a great backup option for Gayle.
Jhye Richardson- Australia’s up and coming fast bowling will spearhead the attack for Punjab. The West Australians stocks are rising and Punjab bought in with over 2.5 million at the auction. Richardson offers Punjab, fast aggressive bowling in the powerplay and exceptional death bowling. Most importantly is Richardson wicket taking ability he was the BBL’s highest wicket taker in BBL10.
Riley Meredith- For those fans that love fast bowling Meredith is the most exciting prospect in a long time. He offers Punjab the fastest deliveries in the IPL, playing 150kmh balls is hard enough at the best of times let alone in T20. Meredith doesn’t bowl a lot of slower balls but when you bowl 150 why would you.
KL Rahul, M Agarwal, C Gayle, N Pooran, SR Khan, D Hooda, J Richardson, R Meredith, R Bishnoi, M Ashwin, M Shami
KL Rahul, Chris Gayle (West Indies), Mayank Agarwal, Nicholas Pooran (West Indies), Mandeep Singh, Sarfaraz Khan, Deepak Hooda, Prabhsimran Singh, Mohammed Shami, Chris Jordan (England), Darshan Nalkande, Ravi Bishnoi, Murugan Ashwin, Arshdeep Singh, Harpreet Brar, Ishan Porel, Dawid Malan (England), Jhye Richardson (Australia), Shahrukh Khan, Riley Meredith (Australia), Moises Henriques (Australia), Jalaj Saxena, Utkarsh Singh, Fabian Allen (West Indies), Saurabh Kumar