Kings Xl Punjab is considered to be one of the most unfortunate teams in the Indian Premier League. They are very similar to Royal Challengers Bangalore, they have a great team and every season it just keeps getting better but for some reason they have not managed to get over the line.
KXlP have made it to the finals of the league only one occasion in which they ended up on the losing side. There is no doubt that the franchise has taken a lot of efforts and they have players of high potential too in their side who can win them the cup.With the likes of K.L Rahul, Chris Gayle, Mohammad Shami and Glenn Maxwell in their line-up, the franchise would be hoping the team clicks this time and gets them home.
With the IPL being around the corner. Cricwizz takes a look at the 5 KXlP players to watch out for in this season.
1) Chris Gayle
There is no looking beyond the Universe Boss. With several records to his name in the IPL and ability to destroy the opposition at will, he is the man to look out for. The West Indian would be thriving to get things going as he is back from a long break and will he set his guns blazing?
The 40-year old is the sixth highest run-scorer in the IPL and also holds the record for the most number of sixes with 326 maximums to his name. He is 114 sixes ahead of the second best AB de Villers, this shows his sheer power hitting and dominance. Gayle is also the owner of the highest individual score in the league with 175 to his name.
The Left-Hander has played 125 matches in the IPL and has scored 4484 runs at an incredible average of 41 and jaw-dropping strike-rate of 151. He has 28 half-centuries and 6 centuries to his name.
2) Glenn Maxwell
The Australian was one of the players to take the franchise into their only finals in 2014. He has been a regular in the team from 2014-2017 and then was released. He was bought by Delhi Capitals where he had a mediocre season and now is back to the franchise that he cemented his tag as an IPL player. He was bought for a whopping 10.75 crs by the KXlP in the auctions, which showed how the franchise was desperate to have him back in the team. It is no doubt a lot revolves around his form which could be the deciding factor for the teams march towards the cup.
The 31-year old has played 69 matches in the IPL and scored 1397 runs at an average of 22.9 and exceptional strike-rate of 161. He has six half-centuries to his name and a high-score of 95.
3) Sheldon Cottrell
How many Salutes will be having to perform this season? As per his recent statement, he is longing to get on the field after the long break. The West Indian is turning out to be a really useful bowler and one of the mainstream for the West Indies. KXlP invested 8.5 crs to have the ex-army man in their team as his off-cutters and deadly slower ones would prove lethal for the opposition team.
The 30-year old will be marking his IPL debut this season. He has played 27 T20I and claimed 36 wickets at an exceptional strike-rate of 15. His 70% of the wickets have come with his slower balls, which would prove really effective in the UAE pitch. Surely, he is a player who could help Punjab get over the line.
4) K.L Rahul
The 28-year old is the new captain of the KXlP. This makes him one of the players to watch out for as it would be exciting to see how the highly potential Indian Opener leads the team. He is one of the prodigies of IPL, as it was his streak of amazing IPL performances that made him a regular in the Indian team. In the last 2 seasons he represented KXlP he managed to amass 1300 runs, which makes him one of the highest scorers for the franchise in the last 2 seasons.
The combination of Rahul and Gayle at the top could be lethal and can definitely toy the bowlers throughout the innings. The Right-hander has played 67 matches in the league and is 23 runs away from the 2000-run mark. He averages 42 and strikes at 138. Rahul has 16 half-centuries and one century to his name with a high-score of 100.
5) Sarfaraz Khan
Sarfaraz Khan is one of the players who started his career with IPL at a very young age. He made his debut for RCB in 2014 and was with the franchise for the next 3 seasons. After being released by RCB, he was bagged by KXlP for his base price of 25 lakhs. But the price would not matter for him as he would be really excited to make a comeback to the grand stage after a string of poor performances.
The 22-year old is talented and can hit the big shots but as stated by himself he was not guided the proper way. Now since he is more matured and has some experience in his pocket. Can he play an important role for KXlP? Though he may not get all the matches to play he should be thriving to make good use of the chances given to him.
The Right-hander has played 33 matches and scored 408 runs at an average of 27 and strike-rate of 142. He has a high-score of 67 to his name.
Cover Credits: Crickettimes