Former India batsman Aakash Chopra feels that Punjab Kings lack teeth in their pace bowling department going into the UAE leg of IPL 2021. After Jhye Richardson and Riley Meredith pulled out of the remainder of the tournament, the KL Rahul-led franchise roped in young Australia pacer Nathan Ellis.
Ellis hogged the limelight recently after picking up a hat-trick on his T20I debut for Australia against Bangladesh. The 26-year-old was impressive in the Big Bash League last season – where he picked 20 wickets in 14 games – and after his superb debut, he has been selected as one of the reserve players to travel with Australia’s T20 World Cup squad.
Aakash Chopra said that while Ellis is an exciting prospect, the loss of Richardson and Meredith is immense for Punjab – not least for the fact that both cost them a combined 22 crore at the auction table.
“Punjab have signed Nathan Ellis because Jhye Richardson and Riley Meredith, their huge investments as they had spent 20-odd crores on them itself, are both not coming. You are still searching for answers, you don’t have answers to every question that has come before you,” Aakash Chopra said in his recent YouTube video.
“They got this information very late. Nathan Ellis has decent numbers – he has been doing alright in the BBL. He made his debut recently and took a hat-trick as well, so he has been good and has done well and will get a chance here now,” he added.
They will be looking for more: Aakash Chopra
Punjab have not yet announced their second replacement. The 43-year-old commentator believes that the side is “still lacking a genuine overseas bowler”, although they have England’s Chris Jordan in their ranks. However, he lacks the pace Richardson and Meredith brought.
The responsibility to carry the attack will now come on Mohammed Shami’s shoulder.
“To be fair, Punjab is still looking for another one because you do not have too many fast bowlers. They had great expectations from Jhye Richardson and Riley Meredith. Shami is definitely there and Arshdeep is there along with him. But they are still lacking a genuine overseas bowler. They have kept Ellis but will be looking for more,” Chopra further stated.
KL Rahul’s side couldn’t find a winning momentum in their first 8 matches, as they won 3 and lost 5, and are sitting on the sixth spot. They will take on Rajasthan Royals in Dubai on September 21.