The first half was characterised by shoddy bowling displays and letting matches slip from winning positions. The second, which featured the Universe Boss Chris Gayle, saw KXIP go on a winning streak and fall just short of the playoffs.
KL Rahul’s side have released a number of players ahead of the IPL 2021 auction, and have the largest available purse among all 8 teams. Underperformers like Glenn Maxwell and Sheldon Cottrell who were on expensive contracts were let go of, but it remains to be seen whether there are enough quality players in the auction pool for them to assemble a strong team.
Retained Players: KL Rahul, Arshdeep Singh, Chris Gayle, Darshan Nalkande, Harpreet Brar, Mandeep Singh, Mayank Agarwal, Mohd. Shami, M Ashwin, Nicholas Pooran, Sarfaraz Khan, Deepak Hooda, Ishan Porel, Ravi Bishnoi, Chris Jordan, Prabhsimran Singh
Released Players: Glenn Maxwell, Sheldon Cottrell, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Hardus Viljoen, James Neesham, Krishnappa Gowtham, Karun Nair, Jagadeesha Suchith, Tejinder Singh Dhillon
Here are 3 areas of concern for KXIP ahead of the IPL 2021 auction.
After releasing two off-spinners in Glenn Maxwell, Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Krishnappa Gowtham, KXIP have only three spinners on their roster – Ravi Bishnoi, Murugan Ashwin and Harpreet Brar.
Bishnoi and Ashwin were superb for KXIP in IPL 2020, but that was largely due to the pitches in the UAE assisting spinners who were quick through the air. There wasn’t much turn on offer, and neither spinner was expected to pick up wickets on a regular basis. Brar, meanwhile, has played only 3 games in the IPL and is highly inexperienced at the level.
KXIP’s spin attack could use more variety – an off-spinner and another left-arm spinner will be top priorities for the team in the auction. Bishnoi and Ashwin might still be part of the playing XI and perform like they did in IPL 2020, but a few solid backups won’t harm anyone.
Mohammed Shami shouldered the burden of the KXIP pace attack for the most part last year, and it was only in the final leg of the season that he got any support – from Chris Jordan.
The same problems will persist this year unless KXIP manage to snaffle a couple of solid pacers in the IPL 2021 auction. Hardus Viljoen and Sheldon Cottrell were released, leaving the only other pace options on the team to be Ishan Porel and Darshan Nalkande (apart from Jordan).
Finding some support for Shami will be one of the team’s biggest priorities in the IPL 2021 auction.
Glenn Maxwell, James Neesham and Krishnappa Gowtham are no longer part of the roster, and KXIP don’t have a single recognised all-rounder at the moment. Deepak Hooda is capable of rolling his arm over and Jordan can strike a few lusty blows, but the team management needs to get their hands on as many all-rounders as possible.
Maxwell may make his way back to the team on a less lucrative contract, and KXIP need at least another 2-3 multi-faceted cricketers. Shakib Al Hasan, who is entering the auction pool after missing a year due to a ban, might check more than one box for the 2016 IPL finalists.