Kings XI Punjab was the most exciting team of the 13th edition of the Indian Premier League. They gave their fans mini heart attacks almost in every match they played. From Double Super Overs to consecutive wins, they never let us miss the glimpse of their games. However, they had another unlucky year in the IPL 2020, where they improved their performances as a team but just missed out to qualify for playoffs. So, the IPL 2021 auction is going to be crucial for them.
Kings XI Punjab currently have no proper all-rounders. So, it will be their first target in the upcoming IPL 2021 auction. The all-rounder slots can also help them to cover their middle-order batting issues. Also, they can try to strengthen their bowling squad.
While KXIP can spend over 50 crores during the IPL 2021 auction, they have a total of nine available slots, including five overseas slots. So, there is no doubt that they will put major money for the foreigners during the upcoming IPL 2021 auction.
On that note, here is a list of three players KXIP should target in the IPL 2021 auction.
1. Marnus Labuschagne
Jimmy Neesham might have done wonders while playing for his nation but he didn’t impress much while playing for the Mohali based franchise last year. No doubt, the Kiwi all-rounder has been exceptional for the Blackcaps as he has accumulated 1286 runs in 63 matches. Well, the stats do not speak about his ability to dominate in the death overs. For most of his career, Neesham has played in tough batting conditions. He has not much impressive record in bowling too, he has taken 61 wickets in 63 matches with an economy rate of 6.14.
Talking about the shortest format of the game, Neesham has played in 24 T20I games and hits the ball with an impressive strike rate of 147.9. However, his records are not that same while playing for his franchise Kings XI Punjab. Last year, he had the highest score of only 10 with a strike rate of 105.55. Talking about his bowling, he had an economy rate of 9.95, which is not acceptable in tough leagues like the IPL.
Kings XI Punjab would be definitely looking for a perfect replacement for Neesham and one such player that would be in their mind is Marnus Labuschagne. He had a brilliant time in the recently concluded Big Bash League. He had taken a few vital wickets for the Brisbane Heat during the BBL. His batting is of supreme level and he can play the role of the anchor in case of a batting unit collapse. Therefore Marnus Labuschange is the perfect replacement for Jimmy Neesham.
2. Shakib Al Hasan
After releasing Glenn Maxwell, Krishnappa Gowtham and James Neesham ahead of the new season, Kings XI Punjab are in dire need of a quality all-rounder, who can score quick runs down the order as well as consistently bowl his quota of four overs.
Bangladeshi all-rounder, Shakib al Hasan, who missed the last edition of the tournament with a ban, has recently made his return to international cricket. The 33-year-old has played 63 games in his IPL career so far, scoring 746 runs at an average of 21.31. His numbers with the ball are decent as well, with 59 wickets.
3. Jhye Richardson
One of the major problem Kings XI Punjab faced in the 13th edition of the Indian Premier League was the inefficiency of their fast bowlers, especially in the death overs. Australian pacer Jhye Richardson is among the best young bowlers in the world currently and could prove to be a great addition to the Kings squad.
The 24-year-old had a terrific BBL season where he picked up 27 wickets in his 14 outings at an average of 13.30. Richardson was also named in the Australian T20I squad which will tour New Zealand in February. Mohammed Shami and Richardson can combine to form a good bowling pair alongside the likes of domestic talents like Arshdeep Singh and Harpreet Brar.