After years of underwhelming performances and a string of sixth-place finishes, the Punjab Kings have undergone a major overhaul ahead of IPL 2023. With a new coaching staff, Shikhar Dhawan as captain, and a record-breaking signing in Sam Curran, the Kings are hoping to end their playoff drought and claim their first-ever IPL trophy.
New Leadership, New Ambitions
Shikhar Dhawan’s appointment as captain is the seventh change in eight years for Punjab. Despite his recent form, the Kings are hoping that the experienced southpaw will lead from the front and guide the team to the playoffs. New head coach Trevor Bayliss is joined by Brad Haddin and Charl Langeveldt, forming a formidable coaching staff set on turning the team’s fortunes around.
A Strong Core and A Record-Breaking Signing
Punjab Kings have built a strong core around Dhawan, Arshdeep Singh, Liam Livingstone, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Sam Curran, and Kagiso Rabada. However, the pressure is on Sam Curran, the most expensive purchase in IPL history, to deliver a standout performance. Curran’s impressive T20 numbers and recent form make him the player to watch for Punjab this season.
Filling the Gaps
The mini-auction saw the Kings make some base-price signings, including Zimbabwe all-rounder Sikandar Raza and top-order batter Harpreet Singh Bhatia. However, the team’s reinforcements in both the spin and pace departments are mostly uncapped, lacking big-match experience. Punjab’s success this season may hinge on the performance of their Indian batters and how well they can support the team’s star-studded overseas contingent.
Injuries and Availability
The Kings will miss Jonny Bairstow due to a leg injury, but his replacement, Matthew Short, is coming off an impressive BBL campaign. Kagiso Rabada will be unavailable for the team’s opening fixture due to international commitments, but is expected to join the squad soon after.
A New Dawn for Punjab?
With a revamped squad and coaching staff, Punjab Kings are hoping to put an end to their playoff jinx. The team’s fortunes may well rest on the shoulders of Sam Curran, as well as the performances of their Indian batters. Punjab fans will be watching with bated breath, hoping that the 2023 season will finally be the year they lift the IPL trophy.