Former India opener Aakash Chopra has questioned Punjab Kings (PBKS) for removing Anil Kumble as head coach as they had not made many changes to their squad in the mini-auction ahead of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2023.
In the auction held on December 23 at Kochi, Punjab Kings picked Sam Curran (INR 18.50 crore), Sikandar Raza (INR 50 lakh), Harpreet Bhatia (INR 40 lakh), Vidwath Kaverappa (INR 20 lakh), Mohit Rathee (INR 20 lakh) and Shivam Singh (INR 20 lakh). None of them barring Curran and Raza are much known.
In a video shared on his YouTube channel, Chopra questioned their strategy. “If you (PBKS) have not made changes, it means Anil Kumble had made the right team. You had done a good squad selection, just had to do a little tweaking and not wholesale changes, Trevor Bayliss felt like that. So why was Kumble removed? I am just wondering.”
Before the auction, PBKS retained five overseas players — Jonny Bairstow, Kagiso Rabada, Liam Livingstone, Bhanuka Rajapaksa and Nathan Ellis — from last year’s squad. They added Curran and Raza to their overseas contingent at the auction but opted not to pick an eighth foreign player, even though they had ?12.95 crore left in their purse.
Chopra also questioned the PBKS for not selecting their full quota of overseas players.
“If anyone had the money to spend after Hyderabad, it was the Punjab Kings. They have kept a 22-member squad, you can keep 25, with seven overseas. They should have kept one more overseas player. I understand that COVID is behind us but you should have a contingency plan. Did they miss a trick?”
Chopra noted that barring Curran and Raza, PBKS did not acquire any other prominent player and said, “They bought Sam Curran. They got Sikandar Raza very cheap, at the base price. To be fair, they didn’t spend much other than Sam Curran and Sikandar Raza. Sam Curran was definitely very expensive and then Harpreet Bhatia, Kaverappa, Mohit Rathee, Shivam Singh – not really much.”