King XI Punjab (KXIP) had another disappointing outing in the thirteenth season of Indian Premier League (IPL) last year. They missed out to book a place in the playoffs for a sixth consecutive time.
The IPL 2021 auction is going to be vital for KXIP. No wonder, they have released several big players ahead of the upcoming bidding process like Glenn Maxwell, Sheldon Cottrell, Mujeeb ur Rahman, James Neesham, and Karun Nair.
Now, the Mohali-based franchise have nine slots left, including five foreigners. They have to fulfil many spots in their squad. The KL Rahul-led side will look for a proper death bowler, a valuable all-rounder, a top-order batsman and a quality spinner.
On that note, let’s have a look at four players KXIP can bid for in IPL 2021 auctions:
1.) Alex Hales
KXIP have some top-quality top-order batsmen like KL Rahul, Chris Gayle and Mayank Agarwal. However, considering Gayle’s fitness and his current form in the T10 league, KXIP might look for some alternate who can play a similar role and England’s opening batsman Alex Hales perfectly fits the scenario.
Hales has performed remarkably well for Sydney Thunder in the ongoing 2020-21 edition of the Big Bash League (BBL) in Australia. The right-handed batsman has amassed 543 runs from 15 matches at a phenomenal strike-rate of 161.60.
Hales has also smashed one hundred and three half-centuries in the tournament. Looking at his spectacular form, picking Hales for the cash-rich league’s upcoming season would be worth it.
2.) Mitchell Starc
Many experts have already predicted that Australian pace sensation Mitchell Starc will be the top contenders to draw the highest bid at the IPL 2021 auction.
The left-armer hasn’t played an IPL fixture since 2015. In the 2018 auctions, he was picked by Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) for INR 9.4 crore. But an injury prevented him from playing that season.
Since the T20 Wolrd Cup is scheduled in India later this year, there are high chances that Starc might play IPL 2021. KXIP currently have Mohammed Shami and Chris Jordan as pacers, and if they take Starc in the squad, it will strengthen their bowling attack.
3.) Chris Morris
South African all-rounder Chris Morris featured for Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in the previous season in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). RCB roped in Morris for INR 10 crore in IPL 2020. However, due to an injury, the 33-year-old couldn’t play all the matches. He only appeared in 11 games, where Morris bagged 11 wickets and scored 34 runs.
Ahead of the IPL 2021 auctions, KXIP had released Neesham, who failed to contribute with both bat and bowl for his side in the thirteenth season. They will look to fill the place of Neesham in the squad and what better option could it be than Morris.
Overall, the Pretoria-lad has played 218 T20s, scoring 1764 runs at a brilliant strike-rate of 151 with three half-tons. Morris has also earned 270 wickets in the shortest format with 4/9 being his best.
4.) Sandeep Lamichhane
Quite a few franchises, including KXIP, will be eying on Nepal’s cricket sensation Sandeep Lamichhane in the upcoming auction. The leg-spinner has been released by Delhi Capitals (DC) ahead of the bidding process.
KXIP have already released Mujeeb, so they will be looking to fill that gap, and Lamichhane could be a good option.
The leggie has a vast experience in the shortest format. Lamichhane has picked up 121 wickets in 93 T20 games at a notable strike-rate of 16. The right-arm spinner can form an outstanding bowling combination with Ravi Bishnoi and Murugan Ashwin in the Punjab team.