Sunday, December 4, 2022

Shikhar Dhawan to lead Punjab Kings in IPL-2023

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After the most recent board meeting on Wednesday (November 2), Punjab Kings have appointed Shikhar Dhawan as their new captain for the 2023 Indian Premier League (IPL) season. It is understood that the Kings’ new head coach, Trevor Bayliss, backed Dhawan during a meeting, who is also leading India in the most recent ODI matches.

Before the IPL mega-auction in February 2022, the Kings retained only Mayank and Arshdeep Singh. Prior to the start of the 2022 season, Mayank was named captain, succeeding star batter KL Rahul. In the massive auction, Punjab Kings, coached by Anil Kumble, paid a hefty INR 8.25 crore to secure Dhawan’s contract.

In the most recent IPL tournaments, Dhawan has consistently performed well. During the 2020 season with Delhi Capitals, he scored 618 runs, while in his first season with Punjab Kings, he scored 460 runs in 14 matches. After the season was over, cricket experts, including former Indian coach Ravi Shastri, demanded that Mayank step down as captain, and numerous recent rumours suggested that Dhawan would take his place.

Kagiso Rabada, Liam Livingstone, and Jonny Bairstow joined Punjab Kings to strengthen their roster. However, the Mayank leadership, who also failed to perform in a new role, caused the team to struggle with consistency. With one fifty-plus innings, Mayank only scored 196 runs in 12 innings at a poor strike rate of 122.50 which was  a concern for Punjab Kings as well.

Mayank has also lost his place in the current Indian team’s genre and struggles with consistency in domestic cricket tournaments. Since teams have until November 15 to submit a list of the retained players, it will be interesting to see if Punjab Kings decide to keep their former captain ahead of the IPL 2023 mini-auction. The Punjab Kings may let go of Mayank, whose contract for the 2022 season cost them INR 12 crore.

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