Kings XI Punjab started off the IPL as one of the strongest teams, and justified that status by making it to the semifinals in the first edition. But since then, it has all been a downhill ride. In the last few seasons the team has threatened to break into the playoff stages but is yet to do so. It is not that the team does not have what it takes in terms of talent, but somehow it has not been translated into performance.
Following are my predictions regarding the players.
Parvinder Awana: He has been a decent performer for the Kings XI team. He also played for India, although his debut did not go as well as he would have liked. However, he should be a certainty in the team in 2014, given his pace and ability to bowl death overs.
Azhar Mahmood: He was one of the brightest lights for the team in 2013. It would be really a major surprise if Kings XI did not retain this English all-rounder in the upcoming season as well.
Bhargav Bhatt: He was a good performer for the Punjab-based franchise in 2012. He bowled some decent spells in 2013 and has represented the India Emerging Players team. He should be there in the team in 2014.
Bipul Sharma: He has been a good performer for the team, his nagging line and length and decent batting ability aiding his cause. So, one expects that he will be in Kings XI squad during 2014 as well.
Piyush Chawla: One of the most important performers for the team, he has often been the decisive factor in many of their victories. He should be a certainty in the squad for the upcoming edition.
Manpreet Singh Gony: In the early part of the IPL, Gony was a fantastic performer for the Chennai Super Kings. He hasn’t exactly reproduced the goods for Kings XI but still it is unlikely that he will be let go in 2014.
Gurkeerat Singh Maan: He has played a couple of matches for the Mohali team but is yet to truly catch the eye. It is uncertain as to whether he will stay in the team or not, but considering he plays for the Punjab Ranji team he might just make the cut.
Aniket Choudhary: This Rajasthan seamer has played for India A and has a decent record in first-class cricket. Unfortunately, he is yet to get a game for Kings XI. It is unlikely that he will be retained in the upcoming edition as well.
Harmeet Singh: A good performer for Deccan Chargers earlier, Harmeet Singh has been doing not too badly with Kings XI as well. He should be there in the squad in the upcoming edition of the IPL.
David Hussey: He led the team creditably enough in the absence of Adam Gilchrist in 2012 and also scored runs with the bat in 2013. Therefore, be should be an automatic choice come 2014.
Praveen Kumar: He may be out of the Indian team, but this bowling all-rounder has been a vital cog in the Kings XI line-up. It is expected that he shall be leading the attack in 2014 as well.
Mandeep Singh: One of the finest young batsmen in India, Mandeep Singh is also a contender for captaining the Kings XI team in near future. He should be an automatic choice for the first XI, let alone the squad, in 2014.
Shaun Marsh: He may not have played that well for Australia but has always been a consistent performer for the Punjab franchise. He should have a permanent spot in the squad in 2014 as well.
Dimitri Mascarenhas: The aged all-rounder from England did not get a game last time around, and it is highly unlikely that with his retirement from first-class cricket, Kings XI will be investing in him in 2014.
David Miller: The hard-hitting batsman from South Africa has been a fixture in the national team in the limited-overs games and has also won couple of matches for Kings XI on his own. So it is natural that he would be in the squad in 2014 too.
Michael Neser: The talented seamer from Australia was a replacement player for Ryan Harris in 2013 but did not play any match. It is unlikely he will be seen in the team in 2014.
Luke Pomersbach: He was bought from the Royal Challengers after his sterling performance for Brisbane Heat in the 2012 Big Bash, but so far he has not received much game time. However, considering his credentials as a T20 batsman, it would be surprising if he is left out in 2014.
Sandeep Sharma: Another player to watch out for in the future. He has the ability to swing the ball both ways and picks up a lot of wickets. He should play a major part in the team in 2014 as well.
Rajagopal Satish: He has never really reproduced the form he had shown while playing for the Chennai Superstars in the now-defunct Indian Cricket League. Still, he remains a survivor, a quality that could see him retained in 2014.
Paul Valthaty: He was in superlative form in the 2012 IPL, but was unable to perform as well in 2013. However, given his ability to play match-winning innings, he could figure in the squad in 2014.
Ryan Harris: His pace and energy are vital to the success of Kings XI, especially on their seam-friendly pitches at Mohali and Dharamshala. He should, without a doubt, be in the team for 2014.
Nitin Saini: The wicket-keeper cum batsman did not play a single match in the last edition, and so it is highly unlikely that he will figure in the franchise’s plans in 2014.