Formerly known as Kings XI Punjab, Punjab Kings (PBKS) is a franchise that has faced a lot of bad luck during its history in the Indian Premier League (IPL). On the positive side for the 2023 season, they appear to have a balanced 25-man roster and perhaps have the best chance of finally getting their hands on the trophy. The team is led by Shikhar Dhawan who definitely has something to prove ahead of the T20 World Championship. His batting and leadership skills will be tested and the Indian opener will look to deliver on all fronts and bring Punjab faithful their first IPL glory.
The Kings broke the bank to enlist the services of England all-rounder Sam Curran, who became the most expensive player in IPL history at INR 18.50 crore after a bidding war between them and Mumbai. The team had sacked their longtime player Mayank Agarwal and despite trying to secure his services at the auction last year they lost to SunRisers Hyderabad. PBKS has good shot depth and strong bowling attack. They have quite an impressive overseas contingent which is absolutely crucial to the success of any team in the league.
However, there are still areas where improvements need to be made. For example, their all-around Indian contingent isn’t as dynamic, nor is their selection when it comes to Indian pacers or spinners. Having a good foreign contingent is one thing, but relying heavily on it is a big mistake. It will be interesting to see how Dhawan plays the cards he’s dealt and how the team fares in the tournament this season. With that in mind, here are the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats for the Punjab Kings.
Despite the loss of the highly successful Jonny Bairstow to injury, the Punjab Kings boast a huge foreign contingent. Players like Kagiso Rabada, Matthew Short, Liam Livingstone, Sam Curran, Sikandar Raza and Bhanuka Rajapaksa form a dynamic group that covers almost every aspect of the game. The best thing about this bunch is that they are all experienced players who have proven their worth either in the IPL or outside.
PBKS has a good bowling duo in Arshdeep Singh and Rabada, both of whom can be absolutely dangerous to any batter on their day and turn the match around. They also have a good spinner in Rahul Chahar, who has proven in the past that he belongs in the starting XI of any IPL team.
The biggest weakness Punjab has struggled with on paper is the lack of Mayank Agarwal’s replacement. If we look at the team’s batting roster, Matthew Short could open the batting with Dhawan followed by Livingstone. After them there is really no one who can fill the huge footsteps left by Mayank. Of course you can look at Shahrukh Khan or Jitesh Sharma or even Prabhsimran Singh but none of these thugs are as consistent or skillful or proven as Mayank.
Another big problem that PBKS has on the plate is the lack of an experienced and proven spinner, apart from Rahul Chahar.
Perhaps the biggest opportunity for the Punjab Kings this season is how Shikhar Dhawan leads and plays the team. Dhawan was at one point one of the best players in the country but his form has waned and his absence from the national team has attracted some attention. If there’s one thing he needs to do this season is to prove to everyone that he’s still an exceptional cricketer and leader.
The lack of an established spinner alongside Rahul Chahar is obviously a massive problem for the team. If Chahar doesn’t get into shape or gets injured, Dhawan faces a big problem. There will also be issues with the absence of an Indian batsman from the team should one of the players in the starting XI fail to perform.
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