Kings XI Punjab have been underachievers for most parts of IPL. They are yet to win a title and have been absent from the playoffs on 8 out of 10 occasions. The franchise has never built a core and has seen numerous changes in leaders as well as in the composition of the side which is the biggest reason for their inconsistency.
This time around, they have to start from scratch to end their title drought and it will begin with searching the perfect man to lead.
Under Glenn Maxwell, last season, the men in red and silver narrowly missed out on a playoffs berth. They did not retain Maxwell and in doing so, Punjab have sent the message that they are looking for someone else to lead their side.
KXIP have made it to the playoffs only in those years when they had a good captain. This time around, Faf du Plessis could well be the man for the job!
Du Plessis is a shrewd leader with a great cricketing brain and is currently South Africa’s captain in all formats of the game. Since Chennai Super Kings are likely to use their RTM cards on Dwayne Bravo and Brendon McCullum, Du Plessis could be up for grabs for other teams.
Having 67.5 crores in their kitty, Kings XI Punjab won't mind spending few extra bucks investing in a good captain. With Faf du Plessis in, Kings XI can be assured that they have got a very consistent and reliable batsman at the top who gets his team off to a good start more often than not. There's a general saying that goes around, 'In IPL, if your captain is a batsman, he has to open.' In the past, some KXIP's former skippers have not been able to lead from the front with the bat because of their batting numbers.
George Bailey, Glenn Maxwell, David Miller generally used to list themselves in at No.5 or 6 because of their role as a finisher. Du Plessis will get a reasonable number of balls to make a significant impact in the game. Above all, he is a tremendous fielder anywhere on the park.
Kings XI Punjab has three Right To Match Cards at their disposal. David Miller, Glenn Maxwell and Sandeep Sharma are the prime candidates for the RTMs. Hashim Amla who scored two hundreds last season is another name they could consider. Bowling was their Achilles' heel last season and KXIP’s focus will be on building a good bowling attack this year.
As they say, 'The one good thing about luck is that it will change one day.' Last few years have been dismal for Punjab. Their fans have supported their team through hard times and they deserve much better. You never know, this season we could see the resurgence of KXIP under their new skipper Faf du Plessis.
At the IPL player retention announcement event, KXIP CEO Satish Menon said that his team will continue to play 'Punjabi' style of cricket. If they manage to do so, they are likely to succeed more often than not.