Kings XI Punjab have been one of the most inconsistent teams of in the IPL. The team has always done well in the auction but the team has never lived up to the expectations on the field. They have been a part of the tournament since 2008 however; they have only played one final while the Mohali-based franchise has not lifted the IPL title yet.
The team owners have tried changing the team management frequently but none of them produced satisfactory results. This year, Punjab have roped in the former coach of the Indian team, Anil Kumble as their head coach. Kumble had been successful as the Indian coach hence, the fans have high hopes from him this year. He has a deep connection with Karnataka and he had played a key role in the acquisition of Karnataka stars Krishnappa Gowtham and Jagadeesha Suchith during the trade window.
The litmus test of a coach takes place during the auction and with the IPL auction approaching, here’s a look at three Karnataka players Kumble could target.
#3 Aniruddha Joshi
Anil Kumble would look to sign the stars of Karnataka Premier League in the auction. Aniruddha Joshi has been one of the biggest stars of KPL hence, he might be on the wishlist of Kings XI Punjab.
The all-rounder, Aniruddha played for Namma Shivamogga in KPL 2018 before switching to Mysuru Warriors this year. He played an integral role in his team's success as he played an innings of 125 runs in Mysuru's final match.
The right-handed batsman had not scored many runs before that game but he had impressed with the ball. He had remained unbeaten on 46 during a match against Hubli Tigers but apart from that, he did not contribute much in the batting department.
Talking about his bowling performance now, Joshi scalped 2 wickets with his right-arm off-break. He bowled a brilliant spell against Hubli Tigers where he gave away only 7 runs in his 2 overs while also taking the wicket of Krishnan Shrijith. The 32-year-old could fill in the all-rounder's spot of Kings XI Punjab's playing XI.
#2 V Koushik
The 27-year-old right-arm medium pace bowler, V Koushik is a limited-overs specialist. The fact that he had not played a single first-class match for Karnataka before Ranji Trophy 2019-20 signifies the aforementioned claim. Koushik had been a star performer for Bengaluru Blasters in the Karnataka Premier League. Hence, he got a place in the state team for Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 Trophy 2019-20.
He bowled tidy spells for Karnataka and also chipped in with a few wickets. Talking about his numbers in the domestic arena, Koushik has played 20 T20 matches, scalping 28 wickets at an economy rate of 7.59.
There are two key reasons why Anil Kumble would target him in the auction. The first reason is that Punjab's pace department is not so strong as compared to their spin bowling department. They have got plenty of variety in their spin bowling section but the same cannot be said of their fast bowling attack.
Besides, Kings XI Punjab could buy him at a cheaper price. Since he is a domestic player, he may not fetch a deal as expensive as Andrew Tye and Sam Curran. Thus, Koushik would help the Mohali-based franchise in maximizing their funds during the auction.
#1 Rohan Kadam
Kings XI Punjab raised quite a few eyebrows when they announced the release of David Miller from their team ahead of IPL 2020. The Mohali-based franchise lacks a solid name in the middle order now. They have the trio of Nicholas Pooran, Mandeep Singh and Sarfaraz Khan in their squad. While Pooran has proven himself as a match-winner, the same cannot be said about the other two batsmen.
Mandeep had broken into the Indian team based on his consistent performances. However, he lost his touch and soon found himself out of the national side. On the other side, the fans billed Sarfaraz Khan as the next big thing in Indian cricket but the youngster has proved to be a one-season wonder thus far.
Hence, Anil Kumble may recruit a hard-hitting middle batsman in the auction. There are many foreign players who can play this role but among the Indian names, Rohan Kadam is the most eligible player for this position.
The left-handed batsman had been phenomenal for Karnataka in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy. He slammed three fifties in the tourney and helped Karnataka win the tournament. Besides, he can bowl some leg-breaks as well. Thus, he could be the perfect addition to the Kings XI squad for IPL 2020.