Punjab Kings Preview IPL 2023
PBKS now have another new Shikhar Dhawan skipper.

Punjab Kings have been one of the most underperforming sides in the Indian Premier League. One major factor that has hindered their growth is too many changes in personnel in IPL auctions. On paper, PBKS look promising but going by their trend over the years; one can doubt whether they have the credentials to go all the way. With Mayank Agarwal gone, PBKS now have another new Shikhar Dhawan skipper. In the IPL 2023 auction, PBKS made a headline purchase in England’s Sam Curran, shelling out a whopping 18.5 crore. However, they did get one piece of business right, and that was in Zimbabwe’s Sikandar Raza. 

PBKS have the luxury of several impact players in the side with world-class attributes. However, the overall depth and balance in certain areas are a miss. And this has been a glaring issue in the kind of auction they dwell upon. On a given day, PBKS can be a handful, but in a long season, their consistency can take a hit. In IPL 2023 as well, this can plague them. After the auction, PBKS had 12.2 crore available which shows they missed out on certain key elements. 

PBKS under Dhawan need to get going from the onset. Also, banishing the dependency on certain star figures needs to stop. A collective show and giveaway by players will be their key lookout. PBKS haven’t been able to stamp their authority in the IPL and fans will hope they give a different outlook under new management. One major question is can they deliver the goods? Here we analyze PBKS ahead of the IPL 2023 season.

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

What are the strengths?

Impact players are a major strength in this PBKS side. You have two world-class openers in the shortest format in Dhawan and Jonny Bairstow. Dhawan has been a tremendous, consistent force in the IPL, scoring heavily. Bairstow has had his moments. If they set up a good base, PBKS will benefit.

In Bhanuka Rajapaksa, PBKS get a desired aggressor in the middle order. He can light up the season with sturdy cameos. Also, there is England’s Liam Livingstone, who brings all-round skills. Sikandar Raza can be immense as well. A solid figure in the Zimbabwe side, Raza brings elements as a multi-dimensional player. 

Also, there is Kagiso Rabada and Sam Curran, who can keep things sorted in bowling. PBKS’ pace department boasts variety, especially with three regulars in Arshdeep Singh, Rabada, and Curran. You get an excellent death-bowling quartet. Also, all three players are quality wicket-takers, which bodes well for the side. Summarising the positives and the impact players need to deliver daily. 

What are the weaknesses?

PBKS have the desired foreign players in their ranks, but it is the Indian set of players where there is a lack of quality. It’s one area that could come back to bite PBKS. Bench strength looks sheepish in nature. A worry is the lack of depth in batting, as there are question marks. With Bairstow, Curran, Livingstone, and Rabada being the certainties among the four foreign names, the batting in the middle becomes a worry. Shahrukh Khan has been a costly flop, although he can tear apart sides as a finisher on his day. In Prabhsimran Singh and Raj Bawa, you have territories of the unknown. Jitesh Sharma is a notable personality and impressed last season, but there will be added pressure. 

Another department that PBKS failed to address is spin. Besides Chahar, there are no notable spin options. All-rounder Livingstone is the team’s second option as a spinner. Harpreet Brar hasn’t got many opportunities thus far. He bowls slow orthodox. Mohit Rathee is another option on the bench, but he is yet to play the 20-over format. With several sides boasting premier spin options, PBKS have perhaps the worst set of options available.

PBKS have always fallen short, and too many changes from the management to players have hurt their cause. In IPL 2023, they have several cracks, and their impact players are like paper covering the same.

Probable PBKS XI

Shikhar Dhawan (c), Jonny Bairstow (wk), Prabhsimran Singh, Liam Livingstone, Jitesh Sharma (wk), Rishi Dhawan, Shahrukh Khan, Sam Curran, Rahul Chahar, Kagiso Rabada, Arshdeep Singh

Unique stats of PBKS players

As per ESPNcricinfo, Dhawan has scored 3157 runs in the power play overs at 38.50. However, he has also been dismissed 82 times in this phase. In the last four overs in IPL, Livingstone has a dismal average of 11.16. He has been dismissed in each of the six innings featured in this phase. Arshdeep Singh has claimed 15 wickets in overs 1-6 at 30.13.   

IPL 2023 season Verdict

PBKS can be a fun side to watch, given the impact players and their respective roles have. However, throughout the season, we might not see a settled side. Barring Dhawan and Bairstow, one cannot count on the batting. With a weakened spin unit, the pressure will tell. We feel PBKS will finish in the bottom half of the table in IPL 2023 and miss out on the playoffs.

PBKS IPL 2023 schedule of games

April 1 – Punjab Kings vs Kolkata Knight Riders, Mohali (3:30 PM IST)

April 5 – Rajasthan Royals vs Punjab Kings, Guwahati (7:30 PM IST)

April 9 – Sunrisers Hyderabad vs Punjab Kings, Hyderabad (7:30 PM IST)

April 13 – Punjab Kings vs Gujarat Titans, Mohali (7:30 PM IST)

April 15 – Lucknow Super Giants vs Punjab Kings, Lucknow (7:30 PM IST)

April 20 – Punjab Kings vs Royal Challengers Bangalore, Mohali (3:30 PM IST)

April 22 – Mumbai Indians vs Punjab Kings, Mumbai (7:30 PM IST)

April 28 – Punjab Kings vs Lucknow Super Giants, Mohali (7:30 PM IST)

April 30 – Chennai Super Kings vs Punjab Kings, Chennai (3:30 PM IST)

May 3 – Punjab Kings vs Mumbai Indians, Mohali (7:30 PM IST)

May 8 – Kolkata Knight Riders vs Punjab Kings, Kolkata (7:30 PM IST)

May 13 – Delhi Capitals vs Punjab Kings, Delhi (7:30 PM IST)

May 17 – Punjab Kings vs Delhi Capitals, Dharamsala (7:30 PM IST)

May 19 – Punjab Kings vs Rajasthan Royals, Dharamsala (7:30 PM IST)

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