With the IPL auction coming up very soon (3 hours to be precise), there is much speculation on where each player up for auction will end up. There is obviously going to be many that go unsold, but there is certainly some big names among the list, and as such, will demand a high price.
Kings XI Punjab finished rock bottom of the table last year, and will subsequently be looking to improve massively on that with clever signings in the auction. They have the most money to spend, and a lot of places to fill, and therefore we can expect big things from them in the auction. Here are 5 players who I believe should be signed by KXIP in the auction.
5: Angelo Mathews
The Sri Lankan captain did not take part in last years IPL, and was missed by many franchises for his all round ability. Mathews is undoubtedly one of the best batsmen in the world, and he adds to that with his solid bowling, and captaincy. KXIP sorely missed a captain and leader last year, with David Miller failing miserably as a captain, and Murali Vijay not being any more inspiring either. Mathews could be the key to leading Punjab to a new era in the 2017 IPL.
4: Prithvi Shaw
Punjab severely lacked in local Indian batting talent last year, and there overseas “stars” also failed to turn up. This is one of the areas in which they need to massively improve on this year, and 17 year old sensation Prithvi Shaw could be the answer. He has recently scored centuries for Mumbai in the Ranji Trophy, and for India Under 19’s against England Under 19’s, which just underline his promise. I first saw Prithvi Shaw bat when he was 13 in a local Lashings World XI match in England- why he was playing I have no idea, but it was so obvious even then that he was head and shoulders above everyone else in terms of talent. If Punjab want to bolster their Indian batting talent, then Shaw may be a great way to start.
3: Mohammed Siraj
Not much is known about this young Indian pacer, but he boasts impressive stats for a 22 year old bowling in notoriously tough conditions for a pacer, with a T20 bowling average of 17 and an economy of just over 7. Punjab severely lacked in the bowling department as well as batting last year-is it really as surprise as to why they finished bottom? Whilst Sandeep Sharma bowls well at the front, swinging it well, and occasionally picking up wickets, he was very expensive at the end, and would often lose control with his line. He is also not completely threatening with his pace, and someone like Siraj, who can bowl 140kph+, can definitely improve their fast bowling woes this year.
2: Imran Tahir
Whilst Punjab’s spinners aren’t the weakest part of the team, they also aren’t anywhere near as strong as they could be. Axar Patel has fallen slightly off the radar after rising through the ranks to represent India a year or so ago, and there is not much depth underneath him. The world’s best limited overs spinner could be an inspired pick at the auction, with Tahir being probably one of the most valuable players available. He is coming of the back of a 5 wicket haul against New Zealand the other night, and is ranked very highly in the rankings in both ODI’s and T20I’s. Tahir will cost a fair amount, but with Punjab having the most money, it should be a no brainer for their selectors.
1: Ben Stokes
Stokes is definitely the biggest name in the auction, and is undoubtedly going to fetch a huge price. He is devastating with the bat, can take wickets up front, and bowl yorkers at the death (we’ll just ignore the World t20 final last year), and he is also one of the world’s best fielders. Punjab have lacked, for many years, that one huge star in their team, who can win them games with the bat and the ball. Stokes may only be available until the end of May, but that will give him enough time to play pretty much all of the games, and will allow him the time to completely change around KXIP’s fortunes in the IPL.
As a KXIP fan, I can only hope that they make the right choices in the auction, and if any of these players are signed, I will be more than happy.