Kings XI Punjab owner Preity Zinta went on a shopping spree during the IPL 2018 auction. KXIP has retained just one player for IPL 2018 in Akshar Patel and they looked to build a team from scratch.
David Miller, Marcus Stoinis and Mohit Sharma were brought back by KXIP using the RTM cards, while R Ashwin was the first player bought by KXIP in the auction. While CSK and KXIP engaged in a heated bidding war for Ashwin, but after a point, CSK let KXIP have Ashwin.
KXIP also went hard for KL Rahul and Karun Nair in the auctions, buying Rahul for a whopping 11 crores. However, the biggest talking point was the return of Yuvraj Singh in the KXIP set up after playing and leading the franchise from 2008-2010.
However, KXIP pulled out an ace in the last round of the auction, as they picked IPL record holder Chris Gayle for his base price. The veteran opener had gone unsold in the first two rounds and was looking to go unsold, but KXIP placed the sole bid for him and were given a round of applause for buying Gayle.
The KXIP team has a brilliant batting lineup with the likes of Aaron Finch, Chris Gayle, David Miller, Mayank Agarwal, Yuvraj Singh, KL Rahul, and Karun Nair. The trump card for them will be Gayle, who, while erratic, still has the ability to win them 4-5 games on his own.
The bowling too looks good with Mohit Sharma, Andrew Tye, Barinder Sran and Akshar Patel in the ranks and Yuvraj, Gayle and Rajpoot for support. The only thing to be seen here is that KXIP does not have a proper wicketkeeper and will have to rely on KL Rahul for keeping duties.
A big question is that who will lead the KXIP team in IPL 2018. They have contenders like Yuvraj Singh, Aaron Finch, David Miller and R Ashwin; but choosing one from many can be a headache for head coach Virender Sehwag and the team management.
Possible playing XI:
Chris Gayle, Aaron Finch, KL Rahul (WK), Karun Nair, Yuvraj Singh, Marcus Stoinis, R Ashwin (C), Akshar Patel, Mohit Sharma, Andrew Tye, Barinder Sran