After failing miserably to qualify for playoffs in the successive seasons under the captaincy of R.Ashwin, KXIP has decided to change the coaching staff as well as the Captain himself. Appointment of Anil Kumble as a head coach saw R.Ashwin being traded to DC in exchange of J.Suchith along with cash. Nonetheless, they replaced him with the Karanataka in-form allrounder Krishnappa Gowtham but, the move of Ankit Rajpoot to RR was quite a bit baffling.
They had around 42 cr in their purse to expend in the auction and they manage to buy some quality players to improve the depth of their squad. Some of the major buys were of Sheldon Cottrell, Glenn Maxwell and Jimmy Neesham. They have covered all their bases and look robust for the upcoming season. So, let’s look at the possible lineup :
- KL Rahul (C)
- Mayank Agarwal
- Glenn Maxwell
- Nicholas pooran (WK)
- Karun Nair
- Jimmy Neesham/Mandeep Singh
- Krishnappa Gowtham
- Mohammed Shami
- Sheldon Cottrell
- Murugan Ashwin / Mujeeb Ur Rahman
- Ishan Porel/Arshdeep Singh
They have an extremely propitious Top 4 and their bowling department too looks damn solid. Not only do they have batting till 7 but also possess 7 bowling options. It seems like a perfectly balanced squad at least on paper.
In initial matches, when australian players will be unavailable, they can use Chris Gayle in opening with Mayank coming at #3. Their lineup then possess a caribbean flavor with 3 of their 4 overseas players being west indian.
In bowling aspect, Shami and Cottrell might be sharing the death overs responsibilty while Neesham, Porel and M.Ashwin support in the middle overs. They also have backup of almost every player so they need not be wary of international duties or injury concerns.
With such a formidable lineup, KXIP will be the title contenders this time around, however, they shouldn’t be losing their momentum in the second phase of the tournament as has been the case for them since last two seasons.