The team owners and Ravi Ashwin must still be wondering what went wrong in the 2nd half of IPL 18 for Punjab to loose 6 games on the trot to exit before playoffs after having pretty much sealed their spot after 1st seven games. Kings XI were cruising through the 1st half of IPL 2018 and fans looked upbeat only to stumble inexplicably in 2nd half after a 7 day break. The same core is very much there this year but they released some off form players of last season in Yuvraj, Finch, Stoinis, Axar and few others. They have recruited Shami to bloster the pace attack and Sam Curran to add an allrounder and also netted some fine young talent in leggie Varun Chakravarthy from Chennai and highly rated keeper batsman Prabhsimran Singh from junior ranks both of whom will definitely be tried at some stage.
The batting looks well settled with Gayle, Rahul, Mayank ,Karun Nair as top four and Mandeep Singh picked from RCB, who can also open if ageing Gayle has fitness worries. David Miller is likely to play in middle order with allrounder Moses Henriques being the other option.
The spin department stocks looks strong with skipper Ravi Ashwin , Murugan Ashwin, new mystery leggie Varun Chakravarthy and talented Mujeeb of Afghanistan.
The pace attack is further strengthened this year with in form Md Shami, well built and pacy Ankita Rajpoot being the top Indian pacers and Andrew Tye being the specialist overseas T20 option. Left handed All rounder Sam Curran being the other overseas pace option along with Viljoen of South Africa. Youngsters Arshdeep Singh and Nalkande are other pace options who might be needed if Shami is rested for few games to keep him fresh.
Will IPLs most popular team owner, Priety Zinta ,manage to get a hand to the IPL trophy this year. She has been the most committed team mascot for 12 years and would dearly like to win one after coming so close in 2014. Punjab have the team to do it so the fans will keep their fingers crossed.
KL Rahul, Chris Gayle, Andrew Tye, Mayank Agarwal, Ankit Rajpoot, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Karun Nair, David Miller and Ravichandran Ashwin, Moises Henriques, Nicholas Pooran, Varun Chakaravarthy, Sam Curran, Mohammad Shami, Sarfaraz Khan, Hardus Viljoen, Arshdeep Singh, Darshan Nalkande, Prabhsimran Singh, Agnivesh Ayachi, Harpreet Brar, and Murugan Ashwin.