IPL 2019: Five reasons why KXIP won't win the tournament
Kings XI Punjab have been one of the most inconsistent performers in the Indian Premier League (IPL). They came close to title victory in 2014, but couldn't pass the final hurdle. The IPL 2019 auction saw KXIP go for a major overhaul for the second time in a row. But they would still find it difficult to win the tournament. Here's why.
KXIP are over dependent on KL Rahul and Chris Gayle. These two were fantastic last season and decimated the opposition in several matches. However, if one of these two has a poor run of form, then Punjab don't have an able replacement. Mayank Agarwal could be an option but might not be effective, whereas, new recruit Nicholas Pooran doesn't have the required experience.
There are not many quality names in Punjab's middle order. Karun Nair and Mayank are not T20 specialists. The latter, in particular, has endured a poor run in the IPL since his debut. A lot would depend on South Africa's David Miller. Notably, he had a below par campaign in 2018. Further, Mandeep Singh and Sarfaraz Khan don't seem to pose any real threat.
One of the major weaknesses of KXIP in the IPL 2019 will be lack of finishers. The big-money signing Sam Curran is the only notable name in Punjab's ranks. But he is more of a bowling all-rounder than a finisher. KXIP would have liked someone with proven match-winning abilities. This problem was evident in 2018 as well. But, the management didn't rectify the mistake.
Punjab don't have quality domestic pacers, who can win them matches. This would put a lot of pressure on Andrew Tye and Curran. Ankit Rajpoot has not been given enough game-time over the last couple of years. He would play second fiddle to Mohammed Shami. Shami is enjoying good run in both Tests and ODIs, but his IPL record remains a matter of concern.
R Ashwin started off the 2018 season with a bang after being named KXIP skipper. But then the pressure was telling as the season progressed. The second half saw the premier spinner make some strange team selections. He backed players who didn't click and made several blunders on-field. His captaincy is bound to impact Punjab's chances in the upcoming season of IPL.