Mayank Agarwal and Arshdeep Singh will be the two players retained by Punjab Kings, after KL Rahul expressed a desire to enter the auction pool ahead of IPL 2022.
Legendary leg-spinner and Punjab Kings coach Anil Kumble stated that while the franchise wanted to retain former captain KL Rahul, they respect his decision to enter the auction pool ahead of IPL 2022. The Punjab Kings management has decided to retain just two of their existing squad of 25 ahead of the IPL mega-auction. Star opener Mayank Agarwal and emerging left-arm seamer Arshdeep Singh continue to be part of the franchise. PBKS retained Agarwal for Rs 12 crore and Arshdeep for Rs 4 crore.
“Of course, the major challenge for us was Rahul. Obviously, we wanted to retain him. That’s one of the reasons we chose him as captain 2 years ago, so he could be the core of the team. But he decided to go into the auction, we respect that decision. It’s the players’ prerogative,” said Kumble as quoted by PBKS’ official website.
“We’re going with only two retentions and building a fresh squad. We felt that let’s go with a bigger purse and use up that purse to put together a successful squad. In the last 14 years we haven’t had the results that we wanted. The fans have been very, very patient and supported the team throughout. Since now the tournament will have 10 teams, we believe a larger purse will enable us to put together a squad that we believe will get us the success that all of us have been waiting for. We’ve already discussed our auction strategies. We’ve looked at how we want to play the game going forward, and hopefully we’ll be able to build a strong enough squad to go and get us that title,” he added.
Agarwal was the second highest run getter for the franchise in the IPL 2021, scoring four fifties in the season while keeping a healthy average of over 40 and a strike rate above 140. The opening batsman has been part of the franchise since 2018. Agarwal has so far amassed six fifties and a century for Punjab Kings, while also captaining the side on one occasion in 2021. Arshdeep has steadily risen up the pecking order for the franchise, while also getting his chances with the India A team in the recent past. The 22-year-old has accounted for 30 wickets in 23 matches so far for Punjab Kings. The same includes a five-wicket haul in 2021 against Rajasthan Royals.
“Mayank and Arshdeep have been amongst the top performers from the last season. They are critical components of the team going forward. Mayank with his explosive batting and Arshdeep with his bowling at the death are hard to replace talents. Both are also players that have grown in the Punjab Kings franchise and it’s satisfying that we were able to get them to commit their future with us,” said Satish Menon, CEO of KPH Dream Cricket, expressing his delight.
It will be interesting to see how PBKS go about building a strong squad, considering the availability of quality players.