Aakash Chopra, the former Indian opener-turned commentator, believes that Kings XI Punjab [KXIP] should not retain ‘Universe Boss’, Chris Gayle, in the mega auctions of the Indian Premier League [IPL] considering the fact that the legendary cricketer is unlikely to stick around for another three years.
Chopra made these observations while listing the possible strategies that Kings XI Punjab could adopt if the mega auction takes place ahead of the 14th season of the cash-rich league.
The former KKR opener said that the KXIP thinktank should retain players who are likely to stay with them for the next years besides adding that the management should retain KL Rahul, Mayank Agarwal, Mohammed Shami, and Nicholas Pooran.
“They will have to think about Chris Gayle, if they can think about him for the next IPL or the IPL after that. Because if it is a mega-auction, which is a possibility, then you will have to start thinking ahead that who will stay with you for the next three years.” Aakash Chopra said.
“I would not retain Gayle. I will let him go. If someone has to be retained, I will retain Nicholas Pooran. So, if you talk about the retentions, they would be Rahul, Mayank, Pooran and Shami. These would be the four players whom I will retain or use the ‘Right to Match’ card.” he added.
Aakash Chopra further added that KXIP might also look at retaining the likes of Ravi Bishnoi, Arshdeep Singh, Murugan Ashwin, or even Deepak Hooda.
“I will also think about Ravi Bishnoi and may be Arshdeep, Deepak Hooda and Murugan Ashwin – these will be my 2-3 other guys on whom I will keep an eye on.” Chopra reckoned.
Aakash Chopra on the holes that KXIP need to plug in IPL auctions
One of the major Achilles heel for KXIP in IPL 2020 was the lack of potency in their death bowling. Aakash Chopra reckoned that the likes of Chris Jordan, James Neesham, Sheldon Cottrell do not inspire any confidence and they should look at roping in world-class bowlers for the upcoming seasons.
“About the suggestions for 2021, they will have to improve in their bowling. Jordan, Cottrell, Neesham, Hardus Viljoen – none of them is a good runaway fast bowler, no one who could give you the bowling at the death.” Aakash Chopra said.
“If you do not get the death bowling, then your problem will remain. Kings XI Punjab did recover later on but in the first 7 matches they were conceding 54 runs on an average in the last 3 overs. How will you win matches if you keep on doing that?” he added.
Aakash Chopra signed off by saying that KXIP should look at bolstering their middle-order by hiring a reliable overseas batsman instead of Glenn Maxwell, who proved to be a colossal failure in the 2020 edition.
“So they will have to hire overseas recruits there, somehow get them into the team, however expensive they might be. If they can get a middle-order batsman instead of Maxwell, they should go for him.” he signed off.