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Punjab, the low-key Kings of the Indian Premier League

For the first time ever, the Punjab franchise are not the second-choice ‘Kings’ of the Indian Premier League. With Chennai Super Kings suspended for two years, the Kings XI Punjab will carry that moniker forward in the 2016 season of the IPL.

In the eight seasons of the IPL gone by, Kings XI have been its worst performers. They have never won the tournament and have only reached the knockout stages twice. There was a point last season where they went on a run of eight successive defeats.

The franchise is everybody’s least favourite team (barring those in Mohali) and their current crop of players do not inspire much confidence. Sure they have T20 exponents David Miller and Glenn Maxwell in their ranks, but they have had these two for the past few years without consistent results. Miller has also been promoted to Captain with the departure of George Bailey, which highlights the lack of experience in the Punjab unit, made even starker by Virender Sehwag’s retirement.

Kings XI Punjab’s resource cupboard is bare, as seen in their reliance on Mitchell Johnson, who has played just one grade-level game since his retirement in November last year.

But it’s not all doom and gloom for Punjab. They have an exciting contingent of young, Indian talent including Manan Vohra, Gurkeerat Mann Singh and Armaan Jaffer. South African all-rounder Kyle Abbott is a handy player in the lower middle-order as is Murali Vijay at the top, who would surely have been a better choice as captain than Miller.

What we can expect from Kings XI Punjab

The Kings XI Punjab will definitely pull off a few upsets along the way, beating heavily-fancied sides. But to do this they will be reliant on one-off performances by either Vijay, Vohra, Maxwell or Miller. All the other sides look stronger on paper. Expect Kings XI to falter in the league stage this time as well.

 

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