Despite leading the run-charts last season, KL Rahul’s batting approach cost PK a spot in the playoffs, which Wasim Jaffer insists will change this season, with the return of the aggressive Rahul. He also added that the franchise earmarked Sharukh Khan for the finisher role, after releasing Maxwell.
After their defeat against Chennai Super Kings on the last day of the season, Punjab Kings’ stunning comeback was cut short. While KL Rahul emerged as the Orange-Cap winner, with 670 runs in 14 matches, his runs came at a timid strike-rate of 129.35, which cost the franchise several games during the season.
That combined with the finishers - Glenn Maxwell, Jimmy Neesham - struggling last season, Rahul’s approach came under the scanner. Punjab’s batting coach Wasim Jaffer opened up and admitted that the Punjab skipper was indeed batting a little timid last season, due to the lack of depth in the side. However, Jaffer insisted that this season, there would be the return of ‘aggressive’ Rahul, who took the world by storm 3 seasons ago.
"KL batted a little timidly last season. He probably batted deeper because there was not much batting after No. 5, and Glenn Maxwell was not firing. He took that responsibility on himself to try and stay at the crease and get the job done. This time around, everyone will see an aggressive KL Rahul for sure," Jaffer said, reported Cricbuzz.
However, regarding Punjab's bowling attack, something that was lacklustre last season, Jaffer stated that in Jhye Richardson and Riley Meredith, the franchise have two pacers who can mirror the pace-factor employed successfully by other franchises.
"This is a much more balanced side than last year. We lacked bowlers who can back Mohammed Shami. In Jhye Richardson and Riley Meredith, we have got two pacers who can bowl quick," said Jaffer.
After the release of Maxwell and Neesham, the franchise’s urge to trust an Indian talent as the finisher - Shahrukh Khan - emerged as a surprise. However, Jaffer admitted that the franchise had spotted his talent and wanted him on the side to take on that role. The former Indian opener also labeled the duo of Fabian Allen and Prabhsimran Singh as exciting talents.
"Shahrukh Khan is someone we are looking at as a finisher this time around. He is an exceptional hitter. He played an important role in Tamil Nadu's title triumph in Syed Mushtaq Ali. Fabian Allen is another exciting talent as is Prabhsimran Singh," Jaffer said.