Punjab Kings will head into another season with a hope of claiming their maiden IPL trophy, a title that has been eluding them since the tournament’s inception back in 2008. With a new captain in Shikhar Dhawan at the helm, they will need the contribution from each individual to take this young team forward in the 2023 edition of the Indian Premier League and hope to do better than a No.6 finish that they had in 2022.
Coming into the tournament, they let go off their last year’s skipper Mayank Agarwal ahead of the auctions and brought England’s all-rounder Sam Curran for a earth-shattering sum of 18.5 crores which makes him the most expensive player in the IPL. Their campaign got a big jolt in the form of the unavailability of one of their star overseas player Jonny Bairstow who will miss the entirety of IPL owing to a leg fracture he sustained while playing golf during September last year.
Punjab Kings have announced Australia’s uncapped all-rounder and player of the tournament Matthew Short in Big Bash League 2023 Matthew Short as Jonny Bairstow’s replacement. He will add a great value to the side as an all-rounder but it remains to be seen how will he fit into the scheme of things. Though PBKS don’t have enough firepower when it comes to the Indian batting talent, they have some of the top overseas players in their setup.
It would be interesting to see the playing XI of the Punjab Kings when they play host to the Kolkata Knight Riders at Mohali on the 1st of April in an 3.30 PM start.
Punjab Kings squad (IPL 2023): Shikhar Dhawan (c), Shahrukh Khan, Prabhsimran Singh, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Jitesh Sharma, Raj Bawa, Rishi Dhawan, Liam Livingstone, Atharva Taide, Arshdeep Singh, Nathan Ellis, Baltej Singh, Kagiso Rabada, Harpreet Brar, Rahul Chahar, Sam Curran, Sikandar Raza, Harpreet Bhatia, Vidwath Kaverappa, Shivam Singh, and Mohit Rathe, Matthew Short
Predicted Starting XI for PBKS in IPL 2023
Openers: Shikhar Dhawan, Prabhsimran Singh
Shikhar Dhawan is the newly appointed Punjab Kings for this forthcoming edition of IPL and he will be the lynchpin of the otherwise a relatively inexperienced batting lineup. Being the 2nd highest run-getter in IPL with 6086 runs in 200 matches in IPL at an average of 35.18 striking at over 126, Shikhar is already a legend in this tournament and led the batting charts in the last year for PBKS with 460 runs. He will once again be the forefront of Punjab’s batting apart from leading this exciting side this IPL.
Young Prabhsimran Singh could be the opening partner for the veteran left-hander this season in the absence of more experienced Jonny Bairstow and former PBKS player Mayank Agarwal. The 22-year-old has played only 6 IPL games in the 4 seasons but has shown a great deal of potential in the domestic circuit.
Middle-order: Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Liam Livingstone, Jitesh Sharma, Shahrukh Khan
Sri Lankan batter Bhanuka Rajapaksa was picked in the IPL 2022 and was quite impressive in his debut season. Though he didn’t make that many runs in the 9 games he played, his 206 runs came at a strike-rate of 159.69 which is type of batting the modern game demands. Bhanuka could be once again given a long rope this season as well, especially in the absence of Bairstow.
One of the major positives for the Punjab Kings in the last season has to be the stand-out performance of England batter Liam Livingstone who had an amazing tournament despite the team not performing that well. Liam scored 427 runs in 14 games at an average of 36.42 and more importantly his strike rate throughout the season was about 182.08 which is simply incredible.
Jitesh Sharma and Shahrukh Khan will form the rest of the batting order for the PBKS this season. The former had a great debut season in 2022 where he made 234 runs from 12 matches at a strike rate of over 163 and he will most likely be the designated finisher. Joining him in the finishing department would be Shahrukh who had a sub-par IPL 2022 but his domestic records still stands good.
All-rounders: Sam Curran, Harpreet Brar
Sam Curran, the costliest IPL player is a great utility player and has found great success in his short IPL career as well done well for England in national colors. He didn’t feature in IPL 2022 but has played 32 games in the 3 seasons taking 32 wickets at 31.09 and scoring 337 runs. He can change the complexion of the game both with bat & ball and this makes him a complete package.
The next all-rounder in the list is Harpreet Brar who rose to fame with his dream spell against a star-studded RCB side in 2021 and PBKS would want him to show of his brilliance once again.
Bowlers: Kagiso Rabada, Arshdeep Singh, Rahul Chahar
Kagiso Rabada will lead the pace attack for the PBKS this season and the champion bowler has had a prolific career in the most competitive T20 league in the world. He is just 1 shy of 100 IPL wickets mark from 63 games at an incredible average of 19.66 and will play a key role for the Dhawan-led PBKS side.
Arshdeep Singh will take the new ball with PBKS and the Indian pacer will want to show why he is rated highly among the experts. Though he picked only 10 wickets in 14 games last IPL, his economy rate of 7.70 is miserly when it comes to the T20 cricket.
Rahul Chahar will be the specialist spinner for the team and PBKS will hope for the leggie to have a wicket-taking season. Overall the Punjab Kings have a settled squad with little concerns over the top-order.
Punjab Probable Playing XI: Shikhar Dhawan, Prabhsimran Singh, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Liam Livingstone, Jitesh Sharma, Shahrukh Khan, Sam Curran, Harpreet Brar, Kagiso Rabada, Arshdeep Singh, Rahul Chahar