Punjab Kings have had an inconsistent run in IPL 2022. Pic: IPLT20.COM
Aakash Chopra has pointed out that Punjab Kings (PBKS) don’t necessarily need to drop Jonny Bairstow to bring Bhanuka Rajapaksa back into the playing XI for IPL 2022. The former Indian batter suggested that both Rajapaksa and Bairstow could find a place in the team if Punjab are okay with picking Kagiso Rabada as the only overseas bowler.
Bairstow has scored a mere 41 runs in four IPL 2022 matches for PBKS at a strike rate of 105.13. Before being dropped in favor of the England batter, Rajapaksa smashed 83 runs in three games at a strike rate of 230.56.
Ahead of Punjab’s clash against the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) at the Wankhede Stadium on Monday, some pundits have batted for Rajapaksa’s comeback in place of the struggling Bairstow. Chipping in on the burning debate, Chopra admitted on his YouTube channel:
“PBKS can think about bringing back Bhanuka Rajapaksa and dropping Jonny Bairstow. That could be an option.” He, however, added, “Alternately, they could go with Rajapaksa at three and Jonny Bairstow at four, followed by Liam Livingstone. With three overseas slots filled, they could play with Kagiso Rabada as the only overseas bowler. The rest of the slots can be filled by Indian bowlers. Apart from Brar, pacer Sandeep Sharma is also an option.”
The 44-year-old added that, with the batting department not looking strong, PBKS could try and strengthen the team by bringing in an all-rounder like Harpreet Brar or Rishi Dhawan. Chopra stated:
“PBKS’ aggressive batting approach hasn’t worked in the last two games. To have better balance, they could be tempted to bring in left-arm spinner Harpreet Brar. He has done a good job when he has played. They also have an all-rounder in Rishi Dhawan, so Punjab can think about him as well.”
Punjab have been poor with the willow in their last two matches. They were bowled out for 151 against the Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) and then bundled out for 115 by the Delhi Capitals (DC).
“They are going either boom or bust” – Aakash Chopra urges PBKS to find balance to aggressive approach
Punjab’s “go all out” philosophy with the bat has delivered mixed results. It has definitely not worked in their last two IPL 2022 matches. While not suggesting PBKS change their approach, Chopra advised them to read the situation more carefully. He explained:
“Punjab’s philosophy of throwing caution to the wind is a very good approach. But they have to be a little cognizant considering where the team is standing at present. They are going either boom or bust. And, of late, it has been all bust.”
Having played seven matches, Punjab are languishing in eighth position in the points table with three wins and four losses.