Punjab Kings need to break free from the under-performing tag in the Indian Premier League. Always following the same pattern of making too many changes in their personnel during auctions, PBKS have faltered. IPL 2023 could be another challenging season for PBKS with new leadership in place. With Mayank Agarwal gone, PBKS will now look up to Shikhar Dhawan. England’s Sam Curran, who was roped in for a whopping 18.5 crore, could be PBKS’ game changer in IPL 2023.
PBKS have a solid set of foreign players in the ranks, and it’s a pity they can use only 4 of them in the playing XI, exposing the shortcomings of the Indian set of players. PBKS’ overall depth and balance in certain areas are a miss. And that can see them suffer as the season progresses. After the auction, PBKS had 12.2 crore in their bag to highlight several misses.
PBKS under Dhawan will need contributions from everyone. Batting in that middle-order lacks the bite, and there are question marks in the spin department. Besides Rahul Chahar, there are no notable spin options. All-rounder Livingstone is the team’s second option as a spinner. Rishi Dhawan will have a crucial hand as an all-rounder. Ahead of the IPL 2023 season, we decode Punjab Kings’ probable playing XI.
Full squad of PBKS
Shikhar Dhawan (c), Shahrukh Khan, Jonny Bairstow, Prabhsimran Singh, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Jitesh Sharma, Raj Bawa, Rishi Dhawan, Liam Livingstone, Atharva Taide, Arshdeep Singh, Baltej Singh, Nathan Ellis, Kagiso Rabada, Rahul Chahar, Harpreet Brar, Sam Curran, Sikandar Raza, Harpreet Bhatia, Vidwath Kaverappa, Mohit Rathee, Shivam Singh.
Probable PBKS XI
Shikhar Dhawan (c), Jonny Bairstow, Prabhsimran Singh, Liam Livingstone, Jitesh Sharma (wk), Rishi Dhawan, Shahrukh Khan, Sam Curran, Rahul Chahar, Kagiso Rabada, Arshdeep Singh
Breaking down PBKS’ probable XI
Shikhar Dhawan: The senior Indian batter is perhaps his side’s most crucial customer. Dhawan has been a success in the IPL, scoring immensely. In the last seven seasons, Dhawan has scored more than 450 runs. Overall, he has piled up 6244 IPL runs at a sound average of 35.88. As per ESPNcricinfo, Dhawan has 3133 runs in the power play overs, averaging 38.20.
Jonny Bairstow: The Englishman will need to provide able support to Dhawan upfront. Bairstow is one of the best aggressive batters in the format. His exploits can help Punjab Kings get off to a good start, and this can allow Dhawan to play second fiddle. Bairstow has 4304 runs in the 20-over format at 30.52. He has three tons and 25 fifties under his belt.
Prabhsimran Singh: Punjab cricketer Prabhsimran Singh is likely to come in at number three. He has a crucial task ahead of him in order to make the place his own. He played just a solitary game for PBKS last season, but with few resources this time, PBKS might need to fit him in more regularly. He has 1156 runs in 41 20-over games at a decent 37.29.
Liam Livingstone: If PBKS are to find some rhythm in the middle order, Liam Livingstone will need to deliver more than often. On a given day, he can take any bowling unit to the cleaners. Livingstone has a knack of smashing those boundaries and times the ball well. He impressed in the IPL 2022 season, scoring a solid 437 runs at 36.42. He had a strike rate of 182.08.
Jitesh Sharma: The wicket-keeper batter will need to shoulder the responsibility of making his impact noticed for PBKS. A promising player, Jitesh will get plenty of games this season and he needs to back it up. In 12 games in his debut season in 2022, Jitesh scored 234 runs at 29.25. He needs to up those numbers and make his presence felt in crunch moments.
Shahrukh Khan: Shahrukh was roped in for a huge sum in the IPL 2022 mega auction by Punjab but he failed to justify his price tag. He was also bought for a mega sum by Punjab in IPL 2021 auction as well. In 8 games last season, the shy Shahrukh failed to express himself, scoring just 117 runs. He needs to step up drastically if PBKS are to challenge for a playoff berth.
Rishi Dhawan: All-rounder Rishi Dhawan made a return to the IPL after a gap of six years. He last played in IPL 2016 before making his debut for Punjab last year. In six games, he scored 37 runs and claimed six scalps. With PBKS needing an all-rounder in the ranks, the experienced Dhawan has to build upon his presence.
Sam Curran: England’s Sam Curran has previously played for Punjab and Chennai. He missed IPL 2022 and will now be back to showcase his promise. In 32 IPL matches to date, the left-arm pacer has claimed 32 scalps at 31.09. With the bat, he has scored 337 runs. One of the finest bowling all-rounders, Curran can make a difference with his exploits.
Kagiso Rabada: The South African fast bowler leads the line for PBKS with the ball. Rabada impressed for PBKS last season, managing 23 scalps. A former Delhi Capitals bowler, Rabada has 15-plus scalps in each of the last four seasons. He won the Purple Cap in IPL 2020 (30 wickets). Rabada’s excellence across phases will be a lethal weapon for Dhawan’s side.
Rahul Chahar: He is the main spin option for PBKS, and in order to make a return to the Indian side, Chahar will need to bowl at his best in IPL 2023. Chahar has 57 IPL wickets and claimed 14 for Punjab in his debut season with the franchise last year. He is a key wicket-taker but needs to improve on his economy rate.
Arshdeep Singh: Arshdeep’s brilliance for PBKS helped him bag a position in India’s 20-over squads, becoming a regular face. He managed an impressive 18 wickets in IPL 2021 and a further 10 last season. For India, he has managed 41 scalps in 26 games at 17.78. Arshdeep has been a solid customer in the last five overs, and his offerings will be massive for Punjab.