Chris Gayle didn’t play the initial matches of Kings XI Punjab (KXIP), but after his inclusion, the fortunes of the franchise were reversed as they were back to winning ways but somehow couldn’t make it to playoffs. Chris Gayle who ages 41 scored 288 runs in 7 matches in IPL 2020 averaging 41.14 though his strike rate of 137.14 was comparatively low.
Former Indian opener and commentator Aakash Chopra, however, was of the opinion that Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) should not retain him if a mega-auction takes place before IPL 2021, as the big six-hitting Jamaican is unlikely to play for another three years.
Aakash Chopra: Kings XI Punjab Have To Get Death Bowling Options Right Besides Finding Alternative For Glenn Maxwell
Aakash Chopra made this observation while talking about the possible strategies the Orange Cap winner KL Rahul-led team could adopt considering an IPL 2021 auction takes place in a video shared on his YouTube channel.
Chris Gayle had accumulated 4772 runs in 132 matches averaging 41.13 with maximum 6 centuries. He has hit a maximum of 349 sixes and has also scored the highest score of unbeaten 175 against now-defunct Pune Warriors India.
Aakash Chopra started by pointing out that the Kings XI Punjab need to freshen up their fast bowling resources as Sheldon Cottrell, Chris Jordan, James Neesham and Arshdeep Singh were way too expensive but also didn’t pick too many wickets. Mohammed Shami picked 20 scalps in 14 games. But all of them gave away runs at an economy rate above eight per over. Hardus Viljoen and Bengal’s Ishan Porel did not get to play a single game for the franchise.
“About the suggestions for 2021, they will have to improve in their bowling. Jordan, Cottrell, Neesham, Hardus Viljoen – none of them is a good runaway fast bowler, no one who could give you the bowling at the death,” Aakash Chopra said.
He highlighted that their bowling deficiency in the death overs was one of the primary reasons for the Kings XI Punjab had a dismal run in their first seven matches of the tournament losing 6 and winning 1.
“If you do not get the death bowling, then your problem will remain. Kings XI Punjab did recover later on but in the first 7 matches they were conceding 54 runs on an average in the last 3 overs. How will you win matches if you keep on doing that?”
Aakash Chopra wants the franchise to pick a middle-order batsman in place of the underperforming Glenn Maxwell.
“So they will have to hire overseas recruits there, somehow get them into the team, however expensive they might be. If they can get a middle-order batsman instead of Maxwell, they should go for him,” he added.
Glenn Maxwell scored 108 runs at a pathetic average of 15.42 and picked only 3 wickets in 13 appearances.
Chris Gayle May Not Stay With Kings XI Punjab For Next 3 Years And Aakash Chopra Would Not Retain Him If He Was Part Of Management
Aakash Chopra observed that the team would have to reconsider a decision whether to retain Chris Gayle or not if there is a mega-auction before IPL 2021, as they would want to keep cricketers who will definitely be playing for them for the next three years.
“They will have to think about Chris Gayle, if they can think about him for the next IPL or the IPL after that. Because if it is a mega-auction, which is a possibility, then you will have to start thinking ahead that who will stay with you for the next three years.”
The commentator believed that the Kings XI Punjab franchise should let go of the West Indian big-hitter Chris Gayle and retain another West Indian batsman Nicholas Pooran instead.
“I would not retain Gayle. I will let him go. If someone has to be retained, I will retain Nicholas Pooran.”
The 43-year-old chose batsmen KL Rahul, Mayank Agarwal, Nicholas Pooran and pacer Mohammed Shami as the four players the franchise should either retain or use the Right To Match card for.
“So, if you talk about the retentions, they would be Rahul, Mayank, Pooran and Shami. These would be the four players whom I will retain or use the ‘Right to Match’ card.”
Aakash Chopra concluded that Kings XI Punjab should show interest in promising Indian youngsters Ravi Bishnoi, Arshdeep Singh, Deepak Hooda and Murugan Ashwin.
“I will also think about Ravi Bishnoi and may be Arshdeep, Deepak Hooda and Murugan Ashwin – these will be my 2-3 other guys on whom I will keep an eye on.”
There is no clarity yet on the IPL 2021 auction and the number of retentions that will be allowed. But Kings XI Punjab will certainly want to retain standout performers of IPL 2020- KL Rahul, Mayank Agarwal, Nicholas Pooran and Mohammed Shami.