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Kings XI Punjab has been quite disappointing in the Indian Premier League for the last 3-4 years. Punjab, in the bowling department, has been very poor. Quality talents such as Sandeep Sharma have been produced, but lack of quality foreign bowlers and spinners has cost KXIP big time. This time, yet again, Punjab has disappointed with their retentions. Before the IPL auctions, when each team was given a chance to retain any three players, Punjab decided to retain only one player in the form of Axar Patel. Axar Patel has given the side some brilliant all round performances over the past few years and has been a handy all rounder, so retaining him can’t be called a bad decision. But, retaining only Axar Patel might turn out to be a bad one. Punjab had some world class foreigners in the squad. An explosive T20 specialist- Glenn Maxwell, A perfect opener- Hashim Amla, A handy all rounder- Marcus Stoinis and A hard hitting middle order batsman- David Miller. In case Punjab had the plans to show the Right To Match Card and take back their foreigners, this plan too wasn’t well executed. A team can show the Match Card to a maximum of three players and retain a maximum of 3 players. The team which retains 3 players can show the Right To Match Card to only 2 players, while the team which retains 2 and 1 players can use the RMC for all three players. Keeping these facts in mind, Punjab should have retained at least 2 players. Retaining a single player doesn’t make any sense. When there was an option of having 5 of the best squad members back in the side, the opportunity should have been utilized completely.  Now that a mistake has been made, Punjab should forget that and think about the players they are going to get back using the Right To Match Card. The management will have to build the team from scratch. Punjab failed to pick up form last season and it was indeed one to forget for them. But, the only positives they took from the season were Amla’s consistent performances, Sandeep’s early swinging deliveries which built the pressure on the openers and Vohra’s handy knocks. The best three that Punjab could show the Right To Match Card are these three itself. However, with the options of Maxwell, Miller and Stoinis available, the management might look to fulfill their foreigners’ quota first and then look for some young talents. Maxwell has done pretty well in domestic cricket recently in Miller has been in splendid form. It isn’t going to be easy for Punjab, but they’ll need to make sure that they make a balanced side this time and climb up the ladder.

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