Kings XI Punjab, the toasts of the 2014 season, the team under Sanjay Bangar and George Bailey that had breathed fresh air into the controversial tournament, have finished 2015 as the bottom-placed team. Dead last. No-hopers. Rock bottom. Deep Under.
A lot. Let us take a look at why this talented outfit, with pretty much the same players last season, decided to go into ‘sleep’ mode this season. For the record, they finished their 14 games with just 3 wins and 11 losses. What’s worse—even the Daredevils, eternal no-hopers, finished above them.
1. Top Order Failure
None of the top six launched till it was too late. New import Murali Vijay flattered to deceive, still in test mode. Sehwag seems too disinterested in the format, and youngster Manan Vohra was brought in too late to make an impact. 2014 MVP Saha showed flashes of what he is capable of, especially against RCB, but almost always threw it away. Maxwell has been the biggest dud of the season—failing to put bat on ball for 12 innings. Miller has shown that he is the only consistent hitter for them, but even he failed at crucial moments. His whirlwind innings against SRH wasn’t enough either. He still remains their best T20 batsman. Shaun Marsh wasn’t given enough time in the middle, and Bailey himself has continued his poor ODI form into T20 cricket.
2. Vague Team Selection
Manan Vohra didn’t play till the second half of the season, and they let another star in Mandeep Singh move to RCB. Mitchell Johnson was dropped after a good start to the tournament, and Shaun Marsh—who immediately played a match-winning innings—was dropped after a duck. Maxwell was persevered till, right to the end, and Sehwag—who captained the team initially—was left out despite a few good starts. Miller was played at 6 throughout, too low for a batsman of his caliber.
3. Young and Inconsistent
Axar Patel and Sandeep Sharma, last year’s stars, were not as consistent as required. Anureet Singh outbowled Sandeep for most parts, while Axar seemed to concentrate more on his batting this time. He didn’t make much of an impact with the ball except for the shortened 10-over RCB game.
4. EXTRA WEIGHT
Foreigners like Hendricks and all-rounders like Rishi Dhawan didn’t look in their best form either.
5. Preity Zinta
Instead of furthering her career as an actress, she is seen cheering way too often for a team that has enough cheerleaders on the sidelines. She may be co-owner, but one rarely gets the feeling she knows what is actually going on—until a wicket falls, or a six is hit. Perhaps the team needs a fresher face in the stands.