It is time for the Punjab Kings. The perpetual up and down franchise of the IPL returns with a new band of soldiers for IPL 2022. For fans of this franchise, the mega auction may only seem like a minor detail. For the Punjab Kings, change has been the only constant. Year on year, if there was one guarantee with the IPL, it was change in the Punjab ranks. From captain to staff and players, nothing was ever really the same from one year to the next.
The franchise, however, stumbled upon a semblance of stability in the last two years. They found a constant skipper in KL Rahul and although his form did not translate to success, there was no wholesale changes.
And, in fact, Punjab will be happy with their exploits at the auction table this time around. Those sitting at the bidding table in Bengaluru mid February have done a commendable job in building a decently rounded side.
IPL 2022 – Punjab Kings team analysis
Heading into the mega auction, Punjab Kings had retained Mayank Agarwal and Arshdeep Singh. The former has since then been named the skipper of the side. Arshdeep, meanwhile, had a breakthrough season in IPL 2021 and will be tasked with bowling the difficult overs. The left arm quick has developed a good Yorker to armour himself at the death.
Joining the youngster is experienced IPL cadre Kagiso Rabada. The South African pacer is now experienced in the IPL and after a disappointing 2021 campaign, will be keen to bounce back in IPL 2022. Odean Smith is also expected to be amongst the four overseas players starting for Punjab Kings when the first game of the season rolls around and given his skills with the bat, provides a handy option in the lower middle order.
Punjab have also acquired the services of in form experienced all rounder Rishi Dhawan for a similar role and in case they prefer a younger alternative, U-19 World Cup star Raj Angad Bawa is an exciting choice. The left handed youngster made a proper case for himself in the recently concluded tournament, helping India win the tournament in West Indies.
Harpreet Brar is another one of those multifaceted cricketers this format requires. The left arm orthodox bowler shot to fame when he dismissed Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers and Glenn Maxwell in the same over in IPL 2021. The Moga born cricketer also scored a quickfire 25 in that game.
Punjab are also blessed with a good top order as they managed to pick up Shikhar Dhawan and Jonny Bairstow in the IPL 2022 mega auction. However, this presents the franchise with a unique conundrum as both aforementioned along with skipper Mayank Agarwal prefer opening the batting.
Hence, the Kings have to perhaps slot Bairstow or their captain at 3, as Dhawan is most effective as an opener. Given Bairstow’s ability to easily clear the field, he may be preferred in the middle order. Mayank Agarwal himself has been among the more attacking players at the top while also being a very good player of spin through the middle stages. Thus, either way, Punjab will not be losing too much sleep.
Completing perhaps the strongest top 5 in IPL 2022 are Liam Livingstone and Shahrukh Khan. The former induced a bidding war late in the mega auction and Punjab would be overjoyed to land him. Apart from his big hitting, Livingstone can chip in with some really effective leg spin bowling. And in Shahrukh Khan, Punjab have in their ranks a fearsome finisher endorsed by MS Dhoni no less.
Rahul Chahar will most likely be Punjab’s lead spinner while the likes of Sandeep Sharma and Ishan Porel are handy backup options.
IPL 2022 – Punjab Kings predicted 11
Shikhar Dhawan, Mayank Agarwal (C), Jonny Bairstow (WK), Liam Livingstone, Shahrukh Khan, Raj Angad Bawa, Odean Smith, Harpreet Brar, Rahul Chahar, Kagiso Rabada, Arshdeep Singh.