New Delhi: The Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020 is just a few days away and the biggest question in everyone's minds is whether the KL Rahul-led Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) can go all the way this year?
Rahul has been with the franchise for a couple of years now, and if his past record is anything to go by, he is likely to bring an aggressive flair to the Punjab-based franchise.
KXIP managed to reach the finals of IPL just once (2014), and after that, the side has struggled to even make the playoffs of the cash-rich league. But with the current edition now being played in UAE, the side would hope to reclaim the magic of their 2014 season.
The first leg of the 2014 season was played in UAE, and KXIP managed to win all their matches during that phase.
The team management also roped in Anil Kumble as head coach and Jonty Rhodes as fielding coach. The think tank then decided to get players like Glenn Maxwell, Jimmy Neesham and Sheldon Cottrell into the mix.
Maxwell was bought for INR 10.75 crore while INR 8.5 crore were shelled out for Windies pacer Cottrell. Earlier this week, Kumble himself admitted that the side roped in Maxwell as they needed an impact player in the middle.
The side now has KL Rahul, Chris Gayle, Mayank Agarwal, Glenn Maxwell, Nicholas Pooran, Karun Nair, Mandeep Singh, Sarfaraz Khan as batting options and it is safe to say that this batting line-up looks the most impressive on paper.
Maxwell had lit up the UAE leg of the IPL during the 2014 edition, and now the Punjab-based franchise would be hoping for the same.
When it comes to bowling, the KXIP can be exposed a bit on the spin-bowling front as the tournament is being played in UAE, and pitches are expected to be on the slower side.
The side just has one big name as a spinner and that is Afghanistan's Mujeeb-Ur-Rahman. In the last edition, he was not given many chances, but this year, it is likely that he might play all the games as he is coming with good form after recording impressive performances in the now-concluded Caribbean Premier League.
Punjab has Ravi Bishnoi, K Gowtham, and J Suchith as other spin options but their lack of experience might leave Punjab exposed during the middle overs.
When it comes to fast-bowling, Punjab has the likes of Mohammed Shami, Hardus Viljoen, Arshdeep Singh, Ishan Porel, Sheldon Cottrell and Chris Jordon in their ranks.
The death bowling bit is expected to be taken care of by Shami and Jordon, but midway through the tournament, Cottrell may get a few games as the IPL would be played in extremely hot conditions, and rotating the players would be an option every franchise would like to take.
Kings XI Punjab would lock horns with Delhi Capitals in their first match of the tournament on September 20.
Kings XI Punjab Squad: K L Rahul, Chris Gayle, Mayank Agarwal, Nicholas Pooran, Glenn Maxwell, James Neesham, Chris Jordan, Mohammad Shami, Mujeeb Zadran, Sheldon Cottrell, Hardus Viljoen, Darshan Nalkande, Harpreet Brar, Arshdeep Singh, Mandeep Singh, Sarfraz Khan, K Gowtham, J Suchith, Ravi Bishnoi, Deepak Hooda, Tajinder Dhillon, Prabhsimran Singh, Murugan Ashwin.