A new-look Kings XI Punjab under Adam Gilchrist promises to achieve what teams in the past led by Yuvraj Singh and Kumar Sangakkara could not.
Gilchrist has seen it all in the preceding three seasons. Last in the first edition of the IPL and champion in the second, Gilchrist has experienced extreme emotions. Having traded places with Sangakkara, who heads Deccan Chargers, the 39-year-old wicketkeeper now finds himself among a bunch of largely unknown aggressive players.
From fellow-Aussies Shaun Marsh, David Hussey, Nathan Rimmington and Ryan Harris to the likes of Dinesh Karthik, Abhishek Nayar, Praveen Kumar and Piyush Chawla, Gilchrist finds quite a few options in his search for the right balance.
South African all-rounder Ryan McLaren is also around but the non-availability of England’s duo of Stuart Broad and Dimitri Mascarenhas has surely curbed Gilchrist’s options.
Last year, the side performed poorly with Yuvraj Singh failing to fire consistently. Sangakkara, despite his articulate skills, could not motivate the “local” boys to seize the opportunity. Speculative reports, on how the majority of players were unhappy with the change in captaincy, made it worse for an otherwise formidable team.
Unlike the two previous skippers of Kings XI Punjab, Gilchrist commands the respect like few others in the competition. He leads by example and makes an attempt to provide a comfort level even for those in awe of him in the dressing room.
With IPL providing a short-cut to enter the Indian dressing room, many players hope to catch the eye by contributing their bit in a winning cause. Catchment players like Paras Dogra, who had a stint with Mumbai Indians, Bipul Sharma, Nitin Saini, Sunny Singh and Vikramjit Malik enjoy a reputation of being reasonably good in the shortest version of the game.
Now is the time for the lesser players in the squad to give Gilchrist a reason or two to hail them, preferably before a global audience.
Keywords: IPL IV