IPL 2021: “I Will Be Going With KL Rahul And Chris Gayle As The Openers,” Aakash Chopra Picks His Punjab Kings XI

IPL 2021: “I Will Be Going With KL Rahul And Chris Gayle As The Openers,” Aakash Chopra Picks His Punjab Kings XI

Punjab Kings
Punjab Kings (Image Credit: Twitter)

The newly rechristened Punjab Kings (PBKS) franchise has not had the best of luck ever since they made the final of the Indian Premier League (IPL) IPL 2014. Since then, they have not made it into the playoffs. Despite regularly chopping and changing their staff, coach, and captain.

In the last three years, Ravichandran Ashwin was their captain in IPL 2018 and IPL 2019 and the team finished 7th and 6th on the points table respectively. Punjab Kings then changed the personnel for the IPL 2020, giving the captaincy to KL Rahul and changing the head coach as well, bringing in Anil Kumble.

Punjab Kings
Punjab Kings (Image Credit: Twitter)

The team did well, however, faltered in the middle part of the tournament and failed to make it into the playoffs yet again, despite some good performances from KL Rahul, Nicholas Pooran, Chris Gayle, and Mohammed Shami.

Aakash Chopra Picks His Punjab Kings Playing XI For IPL 2021

Former India opener-turned-cricket expert Aakash Chopra has been evaluating each franchise’s strengths and weakness and came up with the best possible playing XI combination he could. This time, it was the turn of the Punjab Kings franchise.

Chopra went with Chris Gayle and KL Rahul as the openers with Mayank Agarwal coming in at no.3. He also hoped that Punjab Kings chose Moises Henriques as one of the foreign all-rounders.

Chris Gayle, KL Rahul.
Chris Gayle and KL Rahul. Image credits Deepak Malik / Sportzpics for BCCI

“I will be going with KL Rahul and Gayle as the openers, Mayank Agarwal at No.3, Pooran at No.4, Hooda at No.5 and Moises Henriques at No.6. You should please play Henriques as he will add that balance to your side,” said Chopra.

In the middle order, Chopra said that the Punjab Kings team has the option of choosing from Shahrukh Khan, Mandeep Singh, and Sarfaraz Khan for the last batting position at 7.

Mandeep Singh
Mandeep Singh (Image Credit: Twitter)

“At No.7, you can have anyone. You can play Shahrukh, Mandeep or Sarfaraz – whoever you play it won’t make any difference. But if you have this kind of batting, you can play with a lot of freedom, something that they should do this season,” added Chopra.

Aakash Chopra Chooses Four Of The Best Bowlers For Punjab Kings XI

The former India opener then carefully chose the bowling attack of the PBKS XI, picking a good mix of the spinners and fast bowlers. He added Arshdeep Singh can replace one of the spinners on seamer-friendly surfaces.

Mohammed Shami
Mohammed Shami (Image Credit: Twitter)

“Then four bowlers – Ashwin, Bishnoi, Mohammed Shami, and Jhye Richardson. This will be my team, if you feel that you need to play one less spinner, you have Arshdeep as an option available,” said Chopra.

Chopra also said that apart from Henriques, Punjab Kings have the option of fielding Chris Jordan and Riley Meredith, as the express pace options.

Also Read: IPL 2021: It Would Be Another Wasted Summer For Jason Roy – Mark Butcher Has His ‘Fingers Crossed’ For The Opener