They spent a whopping Rs. 22 crores on two pacers – the Australian fast bowling duo of Jhye Richardson and Riley Meredith.
The 24-year-old Richardson was available at the auction table at a base price of Rs.1.5 crore and hit the jackpot, eventually going for Rs.14 crore to the Punjab team. Meredith, who had a base price of Rs. 40 lakh, was also bought by Punjab Kings for Rs 8 crore.
Apart from Richardson and Meredith, English batsman Dawid Malan was a ‘bargain buy’ for Punjab Kings. The current World No.1 T20I batsman was bought at his base price of Rs. 1.50 crore.
Timesofindia.com caught up with Punjab Kings CEO Satish Menon to talk about the IPL 2021 Auction, the team’s name change, world number one T20I batsman Dawid Malan’s buy and much more…
What was the reason behind changing the name from Kings XI Punjab to Punjab Kings?
Like any other product or brand, refreshing becomes an important part of it. It was more of a refresher plan than anything else. Punjab Kings is a name we have been wanting to use for some time now. We wanted to use the prefix Punjab because that’s what we are. Punjab Kings is a more evolved brand name along with our new logo. It is also easier to call out and that’s the reason we went for this name.
How would you sum up the IPL 2021 Auction? Did everything go as per your plans?
More or less. There are always some hits and some misses. But if you ask me to weigh the odds, then I would say we got 90 percent of what we wanted. You always have a 10 percent miss. But we have got the backup for it. We have the backup for what we wanted.
Photo Credit: Punjab Kings
You secured Australia speedster Jhye Richardson’s services for a whopping Rs 14 crore. Was he firmly on your radar?
Of course. Jhye Richardson has always been on our radar. Last year, our biggest problem was that we didn’t have an overseas fast bowler. We needed someone who is really fast and who could put some runs on the scoreboard. He was the right choice for us.
Riley Meredith is another pacer Punjab went for and bought him for Rs 8 crore. Punjab of course had the biggest purse, but strategically was spending Rs. 22 crores on two pacers something the team was prepared to do?
Last year, we realised that our biggest problem was we needed two more extra fast bowlers. That is why we added two fast bowlers to our squad – Richardson and Meredith.
Dawid Malan has been amazing in T20s, averaging above 50 for England. Would you say getting the World No. 1 T20 batsman for his base price of Rs. 1.5 crore was Punjab’s biggest success of the IPL 2021 auction?
We were pleasantly surprised and we are more than happy to say we have got the best T20 player, Malan, at the best price that was fairly reasonable for us.
Were you prepared to spend Rs 5.25 crores on Shahrukh Khan? Why did Punjab target him?
We knew that he would be in the vicinity. He was also on our radar. There were enough teams who would have wanted him. He is young and he is one of those boys who are completely in full form. And I don’t see any reason why we wouldn’t have gone for him.
Punjab Kings also bid fiercely for Chris Morris. Do you regret losing Chris Morris to Rajasthan Royals?
No. No regrets at all. Like I said we wanted certain players but we always had a backup. There were eight teams who were bidding for the same player. Other teams had 10 crores or 12 crores or 20 crores, they may need the only players they want. They can go for it. We rationalised everything. We didn’t freely just spend money. At the end of the day, we were happy that we got what we wanted outside of Chris Morris.
Punjab created quite a winning streak in IPL 2020, but still failed to make it to the playoffs. What went wrong according to you?
The last season also saw youngsters like Ravi Bishnoi and Arshdeep Singh perform very well. Bishnoi also got the chance to meet and learn from his idol and India legend Anil Kumble. Your take on these youngsters and the legendary Kumble’s role…
Youngsters are bound to bloom if someone like Anil Kumble is around.
The anticipation of Chris Gayle‘s inclusion in the playing XI was high in the initial stage of the tournament. Do you think his presence would have made a difference? Did Punjab miss the Gayle factor badly last season in the initial stages?
In hindsight. It is Twenty20. You can never tell.
KL Rahul finished the 2020 season as the highest run-getter. Your take on KL Rahul the batsman and captain…
I think KL is good at both ends. He has done a great job as a captain and that is why he has been made T20 vice-captain of the Indian cricket team. His bat speaks for him. He is someone who lets his bat do the talk. He is just superb.
With a strong lineup, do you think KL can take Punjab to their maiden title win this season?
I hope we will win this year. We go in there every year wanting to win which is why you see us the way we are.