Kings XI Punjab have been buoyed by return of an in-form Glenn Maxwell as they prepare for their opening match against the Delhi Capitals in the 2020 Indian Premier League (IPL), on Sunday.
One of the marquee signings for KXIP, Maxwell completed the squad following his return from a successful tour of England that ended with Australia signing off with a 2-1 result in the ODI series last week. Maxwell, who turns 32 next month, played a significant role in Australia’s triumph.
Nicknamed ‘Maxi’, the Victoria-born cricketer and wicketkeeper Alex Carey both scored centuries to secure an ODI series win against England, last Wednesday. After landing in Dubai on Thursday, the in-form Maxwell can be selected for their match on Sunday following his self-isolation.
During the auction in December last year, the Kings XI Punjab retained 14 players and released seven players, while trading Ravichandran Ashwin to Delhi Capitals. But the team retained their core including KL Rahul, Karun Nair, Mohammad Shami, Nicholas Pooran, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Chris Gayle, Mandeep Singh, Mayank Agarwal and Murugan Ashwin, among others.
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Along with Maxwell, KXIP also picked up James Neesham, Chris Jordan and Sheldon Cottrell to further consolidate their line-up and be among the genuine challengers for the title this season. Maxwell joined the trio of Pooran, Cottrell and Mujeeb Ur Rahman who had arrived from the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) last week.
The management side of the team has also been strengthened with former ace Indian spinner Anil Kumble chosen as the head coach, while former Zimbabwean star Andy Flower is the assistant. Further, Wasim Jaffer was picked up as the batting coach, Jonty Rhodes as the fielding coach and Charl Langeveldt as bowling coach.
Unlike the other teams, KXIP did not seem to have any interaction with the media barring the use of various social media platforms. “14 KXIP players have won the man of the match against Delhi Capitals,” boasted their latest tweet even as the destructive Chris Gayle is seen having a massage before the start of their final practice session in Sharjah, on Friday.
“The preparations are done,” read another tweet with a video embedded depicting various members from the squad at their final practice session.
With no injuries and the full squad at his disposal, it will be a tricky plot for Kumble and skipper KL Rahul in choosing their final playing eleven for Sunday’s opener.