Once considered the perennial underachievers, the Punjab Kings have been a largely improved side over the last couple of seasons. The maiden trophy, however, has continued to elude them. Having made just two pre-auction retentions in Mayank Agarwal and Arshdeep Singh, the Kings have a largely new squad for the 2022 season. Let’s look at the best possible playing XI from the squad.
Openers: Shikhar Dhawan and Mayank Agarwal
Mayank Agarwal will have a new opener with him in IPL 2022. He will be opening the batting alongside Shikhar Dhawan, Punjab’s new recruit. Agarwal has been a prolific run-scorer for the franchise over the last few years and would be looking to carry on his good form this year. Dhawan, on the other hand, is one of the finest batsmen in IPL history. The southpaw has consistently remained in the list of the top run-scorers for the last three seasons.
Middle-Order: Jonny Bairstow, Liam Livingstone, Shahrukh Khan
On number two is expected to bat Jonny Bairstow, who will not be available to play in the first few games due to the series between England and West Indies. Bairstow is an aggressive batsman who can single-handedly destroy the bowling attack on his day, and we have seen this in the past in IPL.
Expectations will be high from Liam Livingstone, who is Punjab’s costliest recruit this season. He is a brutal hitter of the ball and can also chip in with wickets. The English all-rounder has a strike rate of nearly 145 in 167 T20s along with 69 wickets.
They also have another big hitter in Shahrukh Khan, who was given only a few games last season but made the most of the opportunities that came his way. The finishing batsman impressed in the few opportunities that he got and in all likelihood, he will be a permanent fixture in Punjab’s starting XI this season.
All-rounder: Raj Bawa and Odean Smith
The two all-rounders who are likely to make it to the playing XI are Odean Smith and Raj Bawa. Odean Smith has proved his ability in the game’s shortest format – most recently he was impressive in the T20I series against India.
Raj Bawa, on the other hand, is a rising all-rounder who was one of the standout players for India in the recent U19 World Cup.
Bowlers: Harpreet Brar, Kagiso Rabada, Arshdeep Singh, and Rahul Chahar
In the bowling department, the Punjab Kings are likely to field Harpreet Brar, Kagiso Rabada, Arshdeep Singh, and Rahul Chahar. Kagiso Rabada and Arshdeep Singh will take up the fast bowling duties, while the other two will serve as spinners.
Rabada is currently one of the finest T20 bowlers around the world. We have seen him bamboozle the best of batsmen with his yorkers in the previous IPL editions. Chahar, meanwhile, will be the spin spearhead for Punjab. He was impressive in his stint with the Mumbai Indians and will now be hoping to deliver good results for his new franchise.
Image credit: BCCI/IPL