The Kings XI Punjab squad went into the eighth season of IPL as one of the favorites after coming runner-up to Kolkata Knight Riders in a tight and tensed final in IPL 7 which they narrowly lost. How will the Punjab squad for the IPL 9 shape up? Here’s more.
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They looked to keep most of the squad together in IPL 8 for continuity but it spectacularly back-fired when they finished last in the points table after losing 11 games. The IPL 9 will see the Kings XI Punjab making a few changes to it in order to return to their best form.
Punjab had the joint-smallest squad in IPL 8 with 23 players. They retained 20 players from the previous edition which was the highest number among all the participating teams. They also just bought three new players which was also the lowest among the eight teams in IPL 8. The squad consisted of 16 domestic players and seven overseas players.
George Bailey, the Australian One-Day International vice-captain, was retained as the franchise captain. Former Indian great and dynamic opener Virender Sehwag also kept his place in the squad but won’t be seen in action from IPL 9 onward after he decided to announce his retirement from cricket.
Renowned international players like Australian all-rounder Glenn Maxwell, hard-hitting South African batsman David Miller, Australian left-arm pacer Mitchell Guy Johnson, Australian opener and stylish batsman Shaun Marsh and Sri Lankan all-rounder Thisara Perera were among the retained players.
Bengal wicket-keeper batsman Wriddhiman Saha, fast-bowler Parvinder Awana as well as budding young players like Sradul Thakur, Sandeep Sharma and all-rounder Akshar Rajesh Patel are also among the names which were retained by Kings XI Punjab for IPL 8.
Promising young wicket-keeper Nikhil Naak, who was also part of the squad in the previous edition, is the youngest player in the squad at just 20 years of age.
The three new faces in the Punjab squad included Nikhil Shankar Naik and Yogesh Gowalkar. Current Indian Test match opener Murali Vijay was the sole high-profile purchase by Kings XI Punjab at the player auction.
Punjab also released three players from its squad – Indian batsman Cheteshwar Pujara, former Indian fast-bowler Lakshmipathy Balaji and left-arm spinner Murali Kartik.
The final squad of Kings XI Punjab for IPL 2016 – divided into domestic and overseas players – is as follows for now. It will be modified during the trading window and auction as we get closer to IPL 9.
Axar Patel, Anureet Singh, Gurkeerat Singh Mann, Manan Vora, Mandeep Singh, Rishi Dhawan, Sandeep Sharma, Shardul Thakur, Wriddhiman Saha, Murali Vijay, Nikhil Shankar Naik, Mohit Sharma, KC Cariappa, Pardeep Sahu, Swapnil Singh.
David Miller, Glenn Maxwell, Mitchell Johnson, Shaun Marsh, Marcus Stoinis, Kyle Abbott, Armaan Jaffer, Farhaan Behardien.
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