While Ravichandran Ashwin, the captain, could not yield the desired results in the second half of IPL 2018, there was no shortage of experimentation and to be fair to him, it worked in Kings XI Punjab’s favor in the first half of the tournament; be it him bowling leg-spin or using Mujeeb, the Afghan spinner, as an attacking weapon. However, the off-spinner, who lost his spot in India’s limited over setup, will be keen to brush the disappointment and turn his IPL side’s fortunes around. Before the IPL 2019 starts let’s have a look at the Pre-Tournament Best XI for Royal Challengers Bangalore.
Aggressive top order
With the recent ODI success against England, Chris Gayle has shown to the world that he is still one of the strongest hitters of the cricket ball. During one of his knocks, about 7 balls were lost out of the stadium. He was hammering the English bowling attack and if he does the same in IPL, boy he would be valuable for KXIP.
At the other end, KL Rahul provides confidence to the team. He had a superlative run the previous edition. But he lost touch while representing the country. Also, the controversies didn’t help either. But he showed signs of hitting his stripes when he played a couple of decent innings against Australia.
David Miller has been with the KXIP squad for quite some time. The franchise has stuck with him despite his average performances in the last couple of years. Prior to that, he was a key member of the batting unit. His recent form hasn’t been that good either. But if plays close to his best this season, KXIP will certainly in contention for a playoff spot.
Apart from these, there are some notable players like Mayank Agarwal who earned a lot of confidence from the Australian Test series. Karun Nair is another Indian batsman to add to the batting strength. This year, they have Mandeep Singh who plays generally as an opener. But he can be useful down the order.
Powerful Spin attack
Ashwin, when he was handed over the captaincy, ahead of the fan-favorite Yuvraj Singh and the experienced David Miller, not many were fully on board with the idea. Bowlers are rarely given the captaincy these days and Ashwin didn’t have the experience either.
It was considered an experiment bound to fail, but the doubters could not have been more wrong during the first half of the season. KXIP, under the leadership of new captain, had a consistent run in last year’s IPL, at least in the first half. But his personal form wasn’t the best. He will get some competition from other spinners in the camp. But above all, he has the experience that matters the most.
Mujeeb Ur Rahman became the youngest to play the league and impressed on his IPL debut taking two wickets, for 28 runs in his quota of four overs. And without a doubt, he is the latest spin sensation in the world of cricket. While playing for Afghanistan, he remains in the shadow of Rashid Khan but he is a quality bowler. He comes to the IPL with a good season in BBL where he represented Brisbane heat.
KXIP broke the bank to rope in Varun Chakravarthy. In the auction, he came in with a base price of INR 20 Lakh but ended up bagging a whopping bid of INR 8.40 crore. He was impressive with his mystery spin in the Tamil Nadu Premier League. Now that KXIP spent so much on him, he can’t be benched.
Mohammed Shami has been in a great form for Indian in white ball cricket. But he would look to keep himself fit for the World Cup that follows the IPL. Andrew Tye will be the reliable pacer as he is a specialist in the shortest format of the game.
Pre-Tournament Best XI for Kings XI Punjab
KL Rahul (wk), Chris Gayle, Mayank Agarwal, Karun Nair, Mandeep Singh, David Miller, Varun Chakravarthy, Ravichandran Ashwin (c), Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Mohammed Shami, Andrew Tye
The Rose Bowl, Southampton
Kidderminster Cricket Club
Old Trafford, Manchester
Riverside Ground, Durham
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