Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Kings XI Punjab Preview
The fourth team I would like to preview is the Punjab team. In the first IPL they reached the semifinals, but in the second edition they couldn't even reach the semifinals. In 2010 Sangakkara has taken over the mantle of captaining the side and Tom Moody would continue to be the coach of the side.
Now let us have a look at the Indian players in their squad.
To start with, one has to surely think of their former captain Yuvraj. At present he is being bogged down by fitness problems, but make no mistake, the Kings team do need a fit Yuvraj as he has the ability to demoralise the opposition bowlers with his clean hitting. His high back-lift and enormous power makes for a devastating combination, but as we know at present he is bogged down by injuries so, may not be match fit. Yuvraj is also a very good fielder and that is another plus for the side. Tamnay Srivastava was a prolific run-getter in the under 19 world cup in Malaysia, but unlike Kohli and Pandey hasn't yet lit up the domestic cricket with his batting, but he is known for his ability to score quickly and the IPL being a T/20 tournament may just suit his game better. Goel has already featured in the first two editions of the IPL, but hasn't been successful. His domestic records in the shorter formats of the game though isn't bad. The Kings team have also bought Kaif. If used in the right manner, he can be good for the team as he has the ability to rotate the strike and plays well under pressure.
Among the all-rounders, they do have Irfan Pathan, Sodhi and Chawla. All three have played for the Indian team. Pathan may have lost the ability to swing it late, nor does he bowl that famous in dipper anymore, but his ability to bowl well disguised slower deliveries and mix it up with the odd quicker delivery has served him well in T/20. So, he is a vital cog in their line up. Sodhi did play for a brief period in the ICL. He is known as a utility player, someone who bowls a bit of medium pace and can bat a bit. Chawla has some potential as a leg spinner as he does have a good googly, but has been inconsistent and can go for runs as he lacks control, though can't expect a young leg spinner to have control. He can also bat a bit.
Sreesanth, Malik, Powar and Abilish are the Indian bowlers in the line up. Sree has the talent, but I guess one can never predict what is he going to do next. His temperament has been questioned quite a few times. As a medium pacer, Malik was just about ok last year. Abilish has played in the ICL, but since his come back to India's domestic cricket, the left armer has done well and deservedly got a chance to play for the Kings team. Powar is a very experienced off spinner and he does toss it up well and gets a bit of drift going, but can be a liability in the field. He can also bat a bit.
Shaun Marsh was great for the Kings team in the IPL 2008, but has been bogged down by injuries and at present isn't playing in NZ due to a back problem. So, his participation in the IPL can be doubtful. Yes he was struggling for timing in recent times, but at his best he can be a very good T/20 batsman. I'm still not fully convinced that Marsh is as good as what many think. The management have bought Barath and he is a exciting prospect for sure. The little dynamite is very strong on the back-foot and on his day can tear apart any opposition attack. Of course one can't leave out their captain for this season Sangakarra. Sanga is a very reliable batsman who, also has the ability to play the big shots. His experience should come in very handy for the team. I'm still not convinced about him as a captain as he doesn't like to attack, but seems to be a good man manager. His Lankan teammate, Jayawerdena is another vital cog in the side. A lot would be expected of both Sanga and Jaya. Boapra too is in the side and he did reasonably well last year. Yes, he has been dropped from the England team, but he is a attractive player to watch. Bopara has the habit of throwing it away after getting a good start, but in T/20 if he can score 30 or 40 at a good rate it is fine as it is only about 20 overs.
Among the bowlers, there are still doubts over the participation of their strike bowler Lee. At his best he is a great asset in the shorter formats of the game as he can bowl at pace and has the ability to bowl those toe crushing yorkers. The other advantage of Lee being in the side is, Indian domestic players would have hardly faced a bowler of his pace. So, if he isn't fit it is going to be a huge blow for the side. The South African seamer, Abdulla has good variations and mixes it up well. He does have a quick arm action and that does help him to disguise his variations well. Hopes too is in the side and he can be a useful member of the side with his medium pace bowling and power hitting in the end overs.
If Marsh isn't fit I would have Bops and until Lee isn't fit Abdulla would play. The squad has decent depth in both batting and bowling yet, I'm doubtful about them reaching the semifinals.