You can tell from a quick look at the PBKS roster that they lack well-known players, particularly those from India. They have participated in all 16 Indian Premier League seasons to date, rebranding as Punjab Kings from Kings XI Punjab, however they have yet to win an IPL championship. Actually, they have only advanced past the league stage twice, the most recent being in 2014. It wouldn’t be incorrect to argue that Punjab has underperformed more than any other team in the history of the Twenty20 tournament.
With 17 wickets, Arshdeep Singh was the most impressive player, but the batting was a huge disappointment. Shikhar Dhawan, the squad captain, finished 20th overall and scored the most, totaling 373 runs.
The absence of Jonny Bairstow from the team last year due to injury created a void in the lineup. The 34-year-old was kept by the team for the 2024 Indian Premier League since he has a track record of success in white-ball cricket. Liam Livingstone is another key England batsman in the PBKS lineup. Similar to Bairstow, he didn’t have a memorable ODI World Cup and hasn’t played at his peak on the current West Indies trip, but his versatility still makes him a valuable asset.
For PBKS supporters, Jitesh Sharma’s entry onto the global scene would be cause for optimism. Since making his T20I debut in October, the ‘keeper-batter has played seven T20Is for India, and the confidence he has developed should serve him well.
Speaking of released players, Mohit Rathee, Raj Bawa, Shahrukh Khan, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, and Baltej Singh were let go by PBKS prior to Tuesday’s Dubai auction. Shahrukh’s absence might be the most felt of these players. The hard-hitting right-hander was selected in 2022 for ₹9 crore, but he failed to live up to the hype, and the team was forced to go elsewhere for an Indian all-round batsman.
Paucity of players with winning prowess
Although Dhawan is a legend of the Indian Premier League and may still be able to win games on his own, his career is coming to an end at the age of 38.
While Jitesh made his breakthrough recently while Arshdeep has been playing international cricket for some time, it is still unclear whether the two would make India’s starting eleven in major events.
For middle-order firepower, PBKS can consider looking at Harry Brook, Rovman Powell, or Rilee Rossouw. Wanindu Hasaranga, a leg-spinner who can also be a useful batsman later in the order, can dismiss players like Harpreet Brar, Rahul Chahar, and Sikandar. Shardul Thakur is expected to spark a bidding war, and Punjab would benefit greatly from his abilities as an all-rounder who can bowl quickly.
Given the team’s performance over the last ten years, PBKS supporters undoubtedly wish for a roster makeover. But at this auction, that will not be feasible. They will have the difficult chore of filling the eight open slots—two of which are overseas—with a purse of not too much (₹29.10 crore).