Despite having a colossal amount of money, the newly named Punjab Kings had a silent auction this year. We expected Punjab to spend a large amount of money on players Steve Smith or Chris Morris. Regardless, they did invest a sizable amount, but not in the players they entirely required.
Players Bought: Dawid Malan (Rs 1.5 crore), Moises Henriques (Rs 4.2 crore), Jhye Richardson (Rs 14 crore), Riley Meredith (Rs 8 crore), Fabian Allen (Rs 75 lakh), Shah Rukh Khan (Rs 5.25 crore), Saurabh Kumar (Rs 20 lakh), Utkarsh Singh (Rs 20 lakh) and Jalaj Saxena (Rs 30 lakh).
Dawid Malan is probably the only good player for Punjab this year. They wanted a middle-order overseas batsman as a replacement for Maxwell. We all thought Punjab could go after Steve Smith with the experience he brings to any side, but eventually, it was Dawid Malan that the team went with. Dawid can play the supporting role in the middle overs while Nicholas Pooran or Chris Gayle fire at the other end. Moreover, Dawid is currently the number one T20-ranked batsman.
Punjab struggled with its lower order options last season. They regularly tried different permutations by changing position 5, 6 or 7. Karun Nair, Mandeep Singh, Deepak Hooda all failed to deliver in the lower-middle last year. Taking that into consideration, Punjab went for Shah Rukh Khan this year. Khan, who had a great run at Mushtaq Ali this year, can be a back-up option for someone like Sarfaraz Khan or Mandeep Singh. Khan bats in the lower order and handles the finishing role pretty well. He scored 12 (4), 18* (10), 40* (19), 18* (7) in his four matches for Tamil Nadu this season. They also bought other uncapped players including Utkarsh Singh, Jalaj Saxena and Saurabh Kumar.
Looking at their current side, Punjab should have also gone for an experienced spin bowling all-rounder at this auction. Someone like Shakib Al Hasan or Moeen Ali would have been a notable fit for this squad. Surprisingly, they only bid once for Shakib before letting him go to Kolkata Knight Riders which, clearly shows they had no intentions to purchase him. There was also a bidding war between Chennai Super Kings and Punjab Kings for Moeen Ali, but Punjab had to let him go for Rs 7 crores. In the end, they had to smug themselves by buying Fabian Allen for Rs 75 lakhs.
— Punjab Kings (@PunjabKingsIPL) February 18, 2021
The most surprising buy for Punjab was undoubtedly Jhye Richardson. We can still ignore the Riley Meredith purchase by considering his current form. Riley has picked over 18 wickets for Hobart Hurricanes in the last couple of years. But it was utterly shocking to see Punjab spending Rs 14 crores behind an inexperienced fast bowler like Jhye. Yet, Punjab needed an extra overseas seamer along with Chris Jordan. But, spending Rs 16-17 crores on Chris Morris was a better option than spending Rs 14 crores on Jhye.
Remember, they had more than Rs 53 crores in their bank and, they could have easily purchased Morris with that much amount. Morris would have also brought loads of experience to this site and would have given Punjab an extra all-rounder option.
In conclusion, Punjab still has an unbalanced squad going into the next season; they still have some gaps to fill in their team. Punjab still has Rs 18 crores remaining in their purse, which is the highest by any team. Rather than spending an enormous amount of money on players like Moises Henriques or Jhye Richardson, they should have played smart by bidding on players that complete your squad.
The final squad of Punjab Kings:
Batsman: Chris Gayle, Mayank Agarwal, KL Rahul (Captain & Wicket Keeper), Nicholas Pooran, Simran Singh, Dawid Malan, Sarfaraz Khan, Mandeep Singh
All-rounder: Fabian Allen, Moises Henriques, Harpreet Brar, Jalaj Saxena, Deepak Hooda, Saurabh Kumar, Shah Rukh Khan, Utkarsh Singh
Pace Bowlers: Riley Meredith, Mohammed Shami, Chris Jordan, Darshan Nalkande, Ishan Porel, Jhye Richardson, Arshdeep Singhq
Spin Bowlers: Murugan Ashwin, Ravi Bishnoi