The decision to pick Kagiso Rabada was also a very smart one.

Punjab Kings (PBKS) had retained only two players ahead of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2022 mega auction in Bengaluru – Mayank Agarwal for Rs 14 crore and Arshdeep Singh for Rs 4 crore. As a result, they had the highest purse of Rs 72 crore before going on the bidding table. Not surprisingly, then, PBKS had a very busy auction. They picked up England all-rounder Liam Livingstone for Rs 11.5 crore, Kagiso Rabada for Rs 9.25 crore, Shahrukh Khan for Rs 9 crore, Shikhar Dhawan for Rs 8.25 crore, and Odeon Smith for Rs 6 crore. Here’s an analysis of PBKS’ squad after the mega auction.

PBKS’ hits 

Having Rs 72 crore is one thing. But utilizing it well is another. And looking at PBKS’ picks at the auction, one feels they have done an excellent job. In the batting department, in particular, Punjab have picked up some high-quality players. Shikhar Dhawan, who has been incredible form over the last two IPL seasons, should be a good opening partner for Mayank Agarwal. Dhawan will be keen to prove a point, having been dropped from the national T20 squad ahead of last year’s World Cup.

Also, in Liam Livingstone, they have a big-hitter who, on his day, can clear the field with ease. The England batter can absolutely destroy opponents if the ball hits the middle of his bat. He did not have a great IPL 2021 for Rajasthan Royals (RR). However, PBKS would be hopeful that he can rise to the challenge in the upcoming IPL season. If he does so, he can be a big asset to the franchise. 

The decision to pick Kagiso Rabada was also a very smart one. The South African pacer is among the best in the business when it comes to bowling yorkers and short balls. He had a couple of fantastic seasons for Delhi Capitals (DC) though he looked a bit out of sorts last season. But Rabada seemed to have rediscovered his rhythm during the home series against India and will head into IPL 2022 with greater confidence. 

There were a few other plusses as well for PBKS from the auction. West Indies all-rounder Odeon Smith, England wicketkeeper-batter Jonny Bairstow, and young Indian leg-spinner Rahul Chahar are good picks. After a long time, PBKS look like a strong outfit on paper.

PBKS’ misses 

There were not many, to be honest. If anything, they could have done better while filling their bowling department. South Africa’s Rabada was definitely a great choice. Pacer Sandeep Sharma is an experienced campaigner who can be banked upon, while Harpreet Brar showed last season that he could be a match-winner. There is Chahar as well, who was a key contributor to MI. But they do not have too many great options as backups in case of injuries to the regular bowlers.

X Factor

Tamil Nadu batter Shahrukh Khan is a genuine X factor in the PBKS squad for IPL 2022. Shahrukh has the ability to turn matches on its head with his incredible big-hitting power. He has demonstrated the same in domestic cricket over the last few months, be it the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy or the Vijay Hazare Trophy. He began the Ranji Trophy with a bang as well, hammering an exceptional 194. The standout feature about Shahrukh is that although he scores at a rapid pace, he is not a slogger. On the contrary, he has some very attractive strokes in his kitty.

Verdict? Highly Impressive 

On paper, PBKS look really strong. What will matter though, is whether they can translate that into success. 

Punjab Kings IPL 2022 squad: Shikhar Dhawan, Mayank Agarwal, Arshdeep Singh, Kagiso Rabada, Jonny Bairstow, Rahul Chahar, Harpreet Brar, Shahrukh Khan, Prabhsimran Singh, Jitesh Sharma, Ishan Porel, Liam Livingstone, Odeon Smith, Sandeep Sharma, Raj Angad Bawa, Rishi Dhawan, Prerak Mankad, Vaibhav Arora, Writtick Chatterjee, Baltej Dhanda, Ansh Patel, Nathan Ellis, Atharva Taide, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Benny Howell

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