A fourth straight defeat in the IPL 2020 has seen Kings XI Punjab slip to the bottom of the points-table. After starting their campaign with a close defeat to Delhi Capitals in the Super Over, Kings XI Punjab beat Royal Challengers Bangalore comprehensively by 97 runs for their first win. But ever since, the side has endured losses to Rajasthan Royals, Mumbai Indians, Chennai Super Kings and now Sunrisers Hyderabad.
While there may be certain issues plaguing the team, the one factor that cannot go hidden is the failure of key player Glenn Maxwell with the bat. In six IPL games, Maxwell has scored 1, 5, 13, 11, 11* and 7, which are pretty poor numbers for someone of calibre. With KXIP desperately in need to avert their slide, former England captain Kevin Pietersen feels the team needs to start looking beyond Maxwell.
“These guys (KXIP) will have to get something out of Maxwell. You cannot keep an overseas player’s spot like this. Glenn Maxwell hasn’t scored at all in this IPL,” Pietersen during commentary. “Rahul hasn’t got the support from his overseas players. Yes, Pooran scored runs today, but one player is Maxwell. Maxwell either has to be sidelined or he gets just one more opportunity,” he added later during the post-match show.
There were concerns regarding West Indies batsman Nicholas Pooran as well, but the left-hander dispelled them with a knock of 77 off 37 balls including five fours and seven sixes on Thursday in Dubai. KXIP coach Anil Kumble revealed that had it not been for a slight food poisoning issue, Chris Gayle would have played the match, meaning that the explosive left-hander should be up and running for the next game. Pietersen reckons that in order to bring in Gayle, captain KL Rahul will need to make the tough decision and leave Maxwell out.
“It’s about just knuckling down and trying to speak to the players individually and trying to get the best out of the players. But also, set your mark out and say ‘this is the team that I am going to play for the next 3-4 games’.
“I am going to (have a) go at Maxwell here because he hasn’t delivered. He is a big, big player for that franchise. If he is not part of the process, then you have to bring somebody else in,” Pietersen said.
“And Gayle, Anil Kumble said he would have played but he had a bit of an upset tummy. So he is going to have to produce some magic but where is he going to bat? I don’t think he can bat at No. 3 or No. 4 because of his running between the wicket.”