Punjab Kings’ recent decision to dismiss head coach Anil Kumble has drawn criticism from former India opener and cricket analyst Aakash Chopra. In a video on his YouTube channel, Chopra questioned the team’s strategy given that they had not made significant changes to their roster before the Indian Premier League’s mini-auction for 2023.
Sam Curran, Sikandar Raza, Harpreet Bhatia, Vidwath Kaverappa, Mohit Rathee, and Shivam Singh were the only new additions to the team at the auction, held on December 23 in Kochi. Except for Curran and Raza, these players are relatively unknown.
Chopra pointed out that if the team had not made changes, it could be assumed that Kumble had assembled a strong roster that only needed minor tweaks. “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,” Chopra said.
Before the auction, the Punjab Kings retained five overseas players – Jonny Bairstow, Kagiso Rabada, Liam Livingstone, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, and Nathan Ellis – from the previous year’s squad. They added Curran and Raza at the auction, but did not select an eighth foreign player, even though they had INR 12.95 crore (approximately $1.8 million) remaining in their budget.
Chopra also questioned the team’s decision not to fill their full quota of overseas players. “If anyone had the money to spend after Hyderabad, it was the Punjab Kings,” he said. “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?”
“They bought Sam Curran. They got Sikandar Raza for a very cheap price, 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.”