IPL 2021 team watch: Punjab Kings hoping for the new name to bring them change of luck

Owners: KPH Dream Cricket Private Limited

Captain: KL Rahul

Star player: Chris Gayle

Coach: Anil Kumble

Home Ground: I.S. Bindra Stadium, Mohali

Best finish: Runner-up (2014)

Dubai: Changing names is one thing, but changing fortunes is an entirely different ballgame. Although Kings XI Punjab have shed their former tag and will henceforth be known as Punjab Kings, pundits will agree that they will need more than just a name change to make an impact on the IPL in future.

They did have their chance in 2014 when they reached the final only to be denied by Kolkata Knight Riders in a last-over thriller. Aside from that 2014 run when they enjoyed a stunning run through the group phase in which they raked up a massive 11 victories, there hasn’t been much for the Kings to write home about and that also-ran tag has stuck. In fact, it has grown heavy on them like a tightly-wound wet rope.

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The last three seasons have been mediocre but at least, they haven’t finished as wooden spooners like they did in 2010, 2015 and 2016. Coach Anil Kumble and captain KL Rahul and the rest of the think tank will be eager to buck that trend and at least make the knockouts, which they’ve just reached just twice so far: as finalists in 2014 and when they finished third in the inaugural tournament in 2008.

Punjab have immense talent in their ranks with skipper Rahul leading the way with the bat and Mohammed Shami doing the same with the ball. The pair have topped their respective departments during the last two seasons, while marquee player Chris Gayle appears to have found his T20 mojo since signing up in 2018.

The Kings, however, have a lot of ground to catch up with the rest of the teams in the competition - seemingly always in better shape or just being more consistent. However, there is always a silver lining and their focus ought to be on reshaping the team around a core - which they appear to have clearly lacked.

Rahul is likely to have matured after his sophomore year as captain and has promised to take a more aggressive approach. It might just about be time for the Kings to get the royal treatment their new name begets.

What’s in a name, you might ask? It will take a few months for the Punjab Kings management to find an answer to that.

THE SQUAD

KL Rahul, Harpreet Brar, Ishan Porel, Utkarsh Singh, Moises Henriques, Jhye Richardson, Mandeep Singh, Chris Jordan, Deepak Hooda, Ravi Bishnoi, Riley Meredith, Arshdeep Singh, Sarfaraz Khan, Mayank Agarwal, Mohammad Sha mi, Darshan Nalkande, Shahrukh Khan, Nicholas Pooran, Fabian Allen, Chris Gayle, Murugan Ashwin, Dawid Malan, Prabhsimran Singh, Saurabh Kumar, Jalaj Saxena.



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