Transfer Season Overview
Retained: Chris Gayle, Lokesh Rahul, Andrew Tye, Ankit Rajpoot, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Karun Nair, Mayank Agarwal, David Miller, and Ravichandran Ashwin
Released: Aaron Finch, Axar Patel, Yuvraj Singh, Mohit Sharma, Barinder Sran, Manoj Tiwary, Akshdeep Nath, Ben Dwarshuis, Pardeep Sahu, Mayank Dagar, and Manzoor Dar
Traded: Mandeep Singh from RCB for Marcus Stoinis
Salary cap available: ₹ 36.20 cr
Available slots: 15 (Indian 11, Overseas 4)
Kings XI Punjab finished 7th and were just 2 points off the last playoff position. The one place that they seemed to struggle was in the middle-order and the fast-bowling department.
This IPL transfer season, they made a brave decision of completely overhauling the face of their team by releasing as many as 11 players. As a result, they now have a league-high of ₹36.20 crore to spend in the 2019 IPL auctions.
KXIP have parted ways with some of the most high profile names in Aaron Finch, Axar Patel, Manoj Tiwary, and Yuvraj Singh among others. However, they have retained their star opening combination of KL Rahul and Chris Gayle along with the spin combination of Ravichandran Ashwin and Mujeeb Ur Rahman.
In addition to the above, they successfully bought local batsman and Punjab teams Ranji captain, Mandeep Singh for a departing Marcus Stoinis.
With the 2019 IPL auction fast approaching, here are the top five players who Punjab should buy on December 18.
#1. Shimron Hetmyer
The rising West Indian batsman was the star in the ODI series against India. In spite of his team’s evident struggles, Shimron Hetmyer managed to brave the strong Indian bowling attack and hit 106 and 94 in the first two ODIs.
For a team like KXIP who is looking for a talented hard-hitting middle-order batsman, then Hetmyer is a no-brainer. In fact, he would be groomed under the aegis of another hard-hitting Carribean player, Chris Gayle.
In T20s, Hetmyer has amassed 498 runs in 18 matches with a decent average of 31.12. Even though Hetmyer is expected to be in huge demand in the upcoming auctions, KXIP are more than capable of taking this deal past the finish line.
#2. Jaydev Unadkat
Kings XI Punjab looks thin in the fast bowling department and would be eager to tie down a talented Indian fast bowler. One such player could be Jaydev Unadkat. Agreed, the Saurashtra pacer had anything but a great season, especially considering his price tag of ₹ 11.5 crores. Nonetheless, that doesn’t take away the fact that he was one of the best bowlers in the preceding IPL edition, where he had scalped 24 wickets in Rising Pune Supergiant’s run to the finals.
The 27-year-old had a great domestic season this year and will be raring to prove his worth in the 2019 IPL. KXIP should thus make to a point to sign Jaydev Unadkat in the upcoming auctions.
#3. D’Arcy Short
D’Arcy Short is another top-notch hard-hitting opener for the Kings XI Punjab to consider. The Australian has the ability to take the attack to the opposition in the powerplay overs.
In his 45-match T20 career so far, the 28-year-old has already scored 1400 runs at an impressive average of 33.33. Short is also a chinaman bowler and has the ability to bowl in some middle overs as well. In that, he could be a direct replacement for an outgoing Axar Patel.
#4. Chris Woakes
This is a signing that could solve two of the important deficiencies in the Kings XI Punjab side- good speedsters and tail-enders. England’s fast bowler Chris Woakes could be a great choice in that regard. He has the ability of bowling at a good line and length. Moreover, he could also contribute with the bat lower down the order.
Woakes played only five matches in the last IPL season for the RCB but managed to bowl at a good average of 23.75.
#5. Alex Hales
With Aaron Finch being released by the Kings XI Punjab, they would be in dire need of a backup opener especially if Gayle gets out of form. Alex Hales could thus be a great pick for the Punjab franchise. Hales came as a replacement of David Warner at Sunrisers Hyderabad last season. But with Warner returning back to the team this term, the talented Englishman’s services were deemed unnecessary by his owners.
Nonetheless, Hales still remains an important T20 player in the upcoming auctions. The feisty opener, who is also hailed as a T20 specialist in his country, has played more than 200 T20s, scoring 5174 runs in the process. He was in red hot for in the T10 league, where Hales managed to score 216 runs from 8 matches for the Maratha Arabians. He will bring in tons of T20 experience with him, making the signing of Alex Hales as another no-brainer.