Punjab Kings have been one of the most underperforming franchises in the history of the Indian Premier League. Founded as Kings XI Punjab, the team has managed to reach playoffs only on two occasions, first in the inaugural season and then in 2014. This is despite the franchise being home to some legends of the game. In this article, we take a look at the all-time strongest Punjab Kings XI if they played Test cricket.
Openers: Virender Sehwag and Murali Vijay
Virender Sehwag played 104 Tests for the country, scoring 8586 runs at a stunning strike rate of 82.2. He revolutionized the art of batting across formats. After he left Delhi, Sehwag turned up for a few seasons for Punjab. He was an integral part of the 2014 squad that reached the finals. Hence, Sehwag gets a place in this XI.
In fact, it was Murali Vijay who replaced Sehwag in the Indian Team. Vijay also played 25 games for Punjab, including captaining the franchise. Although Mayank Agarwal was also a potential candidate to take this position, having played 61 Tests for India, the Tamil Nadu opener’s case was stronger.
Middle-Order: Cheteshwar Pujara, Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene (C), KL Rahul and Wriddhiman Saha
Cheteshwar Pujara played six games for Punjab, and being India’s No.3 at the moment, he is the obvious choice to take up the slot in this team. Although Pujara’s T20 boat had looked like sailed, he was picked up by CSK for IPL 2021. It needs to be seen if he will get to play for them.
At the core of this batting, unit is the Sri Lankan duo of Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene. Both played for Punjab in the initial seasons of the competition. Sanga and Mahela are the No.1 and No.2 highest run-scorers in Tests for Sri Lanka, respectively. Since Mahela has the better captaincy record, he also gets to lead this XI.
Although KL Rahul is a pure opener, in his debut encounter, he played at No.6. For the sake of this XI’s balance, the current skipper of the franchise will do a similar role. He is currently the second all-time highest run-getter for PBKS. Saha will don the gloves for this XI. He is remembered for scoring a century in the final of IPL 2014. However, Punjab lost the game in the end.
All-Rounders: R Ashwin
Although R Ashwin is a specialist off-spinner, the Tamil Nadu man has contributed often with the bat. In fact, he has five centuries to his name in Tests so far. Hence, he comes in as the sole all-rounder in this all-time strongest Punjab Kings XI if they played Test cricket. Ashwin captained the franchise for a couple of years after IPL 2018. He later made the move to Delhi Capitals, where he is currently operating at.
Bowlers: Brett Lee, Mitchell Johnson and Mohammed Shami
Brett Lee, Mohammed Shami and Mitchell Johnson will form the fiery pace attack for the all-time strongest Punjab Kings XI if they played Test cricket. While Shami has collected 47 scalps for PBKS so far, Lee and Johnson have taken 9 and 28 wickets for the franchise. Lee played for Punjab in the initial seasons, while Johnson was part of the famous 2014 squad that reached the finals. Shami is currently the leader of Punjab’s bowling attack. The trio has also done exceptionally well for their countries in Tests and, hence, make it to this XI.