After breaking the record-winning streak of Gujarat titans in their last match, Punjab Kings would be hoping to get back on the track. Over the years, apart from being Semi-finalists in the inaugural season and Runner in 2014, Punjab Kings has failed to make their mark as a franchise. Punjab Kings has entertained the crowd in patches but have failed to perform consistently in a season. This year, Punjab decided to bring a new leader, Mayank Agrawal, to the team, despite having like of experienced Shikhar Dhawan.
If inconsistency needs another name, it could very well be the performance of Punjab Kings this season. Though Punjab has managed to win 5 matches out of ten played, it is yet to win two matches consecutively so far in this season. Punjab kings have a history of being in hibernation in the initial phase of the league and waking up late only to realize that the bus has already departed. This year, with the presence of overseas players like Rabada, Liam, Bairstow, and Indian legends Like Shikhar Dhawan, Punjab would hope to make it to the playoffs by winning all of its upcoming matches.
It is worth noting that Punjab Kings appointed Mayank Agrawal as captain for this season. After KL Rahul left Punjab for Lucknow Super Giants, surely Mayank was an option to look up to. However, with the responsibilities of captaincy, it looks like Mayank Agarwal is not able to perform up to the expectations of the franchise. In the previous two seasons, 2020 & 2021, Mayank scored 400+ runs in each season. However, in this season, he has neither found an appropriate place to bat nor his rhythm. Mayank was one of the two players retained by Kings before this year’s mega auction, the other being death-over specialize Ashdeep Singh. After taking the leadership role, in a statement made by Kings, Mayank told “I take over this responsibility with utmost sincerity, but at the same time, I believe my job would be made easier with the talent we have at the Punjab Kings squad this season.”
Surely Punjab has talent but the team management has failed to capitalise on it. Apart from Dhawan, all other openers are being shuffled and the team is to find a partner for Dhawan. Mayank himself opened in a few innings but later on switched to face middle overs. Bairstow, an attacking opener, has previously proved his worth with Sunrisers Hyderabad, yet he has not been given many opportunities. If Punjab wants to make it to the playoffs this season, they surely need to find stability and set specific roles for each player. In their last Match, team looked settled, as both bowlers and batsmen performed up to the mark to win the match by 8 wickets. Liam expressed his intentions of taking the team to the play-off when he took Shami for a giant 117 meters long six.
Regarding his team finally winning a title, Mayank told “We have some vastly experienced players in our ranks, along with many talented youngsters who are keen to grab the opportunity and run with it. We have always taken to the field hoping to win the title and as a team, we will once again work towards this goal of lifting our maiden IPL trophy. I thank the team management for entrusting me with this new role of leading the side. I look forward to the new season and the new challenges it brings with it.” in a press statement released by the team.
Looking at the bowling side of Punjab, Rabada is a class bowler, been proved his worth with Delhi in the previous season, and already has taken 17 wickets in 9 matches played by him. Rahul Chahar, having been groomed in a strong franchise like MI, is also a good addition to the team’s arsenal and handy in middle overs. He has taken 12 wickets in 10 matches played so far. Another player, arshdeep-singh was the only player to be retained by the team before the mega-auction. He has proven his worth by bowling wide-yorkers in death overs at a rather economical rate.
In the allrounder segment, Rahul & Dhawan also known for his unique face shield is also doing the work with the ball since he has joined the team but he is yet to show his all-around skills. Liam Livingston, having failed to make his mark with Rajasthan Royals, looks promising with Punjab. He is standing in second place when it comes to the total number of sixes hit, behind Jos Buttler Odeb too has played in patches for the team but has failed to perform consistently.
Punjab kings, along with their players, have an old guard as their head coach, Indian Vetran Anil Kumble. It seems Kumble played a role while deciding the fate of Mayank Agarwal with the franchise. He told, after appointing Mayank as Captain,” Mayank has been an integral part of the side since 2018 and of the leadership group for the last two years,” King’s head coach Anil Kumble said. “The new squad we selected at the recently concluded auction has exciting young talent and outstanding experienced players. We want to create a strong foundation for the future with Mayank at the helm. Speaking about the qualities Mayank Agarwal brings as captain, the head coach said “He is hardworking, enthusiastic, a team player with all the attributes required of a leader. I look forward to working with him as captain and believe that he will lead this team to a successful campaign.”
So far the campaign of Punjab Kings has been, like usual, with its own ups and downs. After experimenting with the number of players, Punjab looks stable, especially after they thrashed Gujarat Titans from their high horses. 31-year-old Karnataka Boy, Mayank seems to be the missing piece of this puzzle. If Mayank can find his rhythm against the Royals in their next match, hopes for Punjab would be alive. Fans of Kings would expect that this new captain brings his own charm the way Hardik brought for Gujarat Titans and this season make history for Punjab Kings.
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