IPL 2021: Punjab Kings more balanced squad than last season - Wasim Jaffer to WION

WION Web Team
New Delhi, IndiaWritten By: Subhayan ChakrabortyUpdated: Mar 31, 2021, 02:51 PM IST


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Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021: Punjab Kings batting coach and one of the legendary names in Indian cricket, Wasim Jaffer, in interaction with WION, talked about the new additions in the squad, the talk around tactics and 'match-ups', and workload management.  

The Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 is set to commence from April 9 with eight teams gearing up to battle it out for the coveted trophy. Punjab Kings are one of the outfits who are yet to win IPL but would be raring to go and end the trophy drought. 

A revamped Punjab Kings, with a refreshed brand presence, would be itching to do well in the 14th edition of the IPL after years of disappointments and heartbreaks. Punjab Kings batting coach and one of the legendary names in Indian cricket, Wasim Jaffer, in interaction with WION, talked about the new additions in the squad, the talk around tactics and 'match-ups', and workload management.  

Since the introduction of T20 cricket, the term ‘match-up’ has been used far more than it was used before. The shortest format of the game and arguably the most challenging for players when it comes to making instant impact and decisions. While some pundits have, in past, said that teams and players sometimes dwell too much on tactical decisions and match-ups, Jaffer is of the view that it is one of the crucial aspects of the shortest format of the game. 

Wasim Jaffer Punjab Kings

“It has become important because it is such as short format. If a batsman is facing trouble against one particular type of bowler, then you would want to exploit that weakness. The batsmen don't have too much time to settle down so those match-ups really matter in the shortest format. If it’s the longer format say 50 overs then the batsmen have a little bit of breathing space. So, in T20 format it matters a lot,” Jaffer told WION. 

“Don't get me wrong. you need to have variety. If an off-spinner is bowling then it does look like that the right-hand batsman will take him on. The ball going away from you will obviously be difficult to hit. That's why as soon as a left-hander comes you bring a right-arm off-spinner. When two left-handers are batting, you don't see a captain opting for two left-arm spinners. It is something captains fear that he might go for runs. But at the same time, some quality bowlers will bowl in every situation. Bowlers like Harbhajan Singh, Ravichandran Ashwin, Washington Sundar who have got quality and variety will always survive. But as I said, in the shorter format you don't have the breathing space to settle down and that goes for a bowler as well so that is where match-ups become important,” Jaffer, who is also the highest run-scorer in Ranji Trophy history, explained.  

Punjab Kings captain KL Rahul roared back to form for Team India in the recently concluded ODI series against England. However, he faced criticism during the T20I series where he struggled to get it going with the willow with terms such as 'poor form’ and 'rough patch' being thrown around by fans and experts.  

“I think those terms are bound to come your way in today's world. Such is this sport. But with so many matches being played, the quicker players lose form, the quicker they can get back to the rhythm. Recently, KL Rahul was going through a dry run in the T20I series but he got the ODI series to gain his confidence back. I think it is natural that players won't be able to perform in every match and it is important to not lose focus when you are not scoring big runs or getting wickets,” Jaffer said. 

Jaffer Punjab

In the IPL 2021 auction, Punjab Kings went with the biggest purse and ended up signing some big-name players such as Dawid Malan, Jhye Richardson, Fabian Allen among others. With a static core, Punjab bolstered their squad by adding match-winners and it would be interesting to see how they fare in the tournament. Jaffer is excited by the new additions and looking forward to working with them during the season. 

List of players bought by Punjab Kings: Dawid Malan (INR 1.5 crore), Jhye Richardson (INR 14 crore), Riley Meredith (INR 8 crore), Moises Henriques (INR 4.2 crore), Jalaj Saxena (INR 30 lakh), Shahrukh Khan (INR 5.25 crore), Utkarsh Singh (INR 20 lakh), Saurabh Kumar (INR 20 lakh) 

“It has got much more balance as compared to last season. We were lacking bowlers who would back Mohammed Shami. We had Chris Jordan but we needed somebody who can bowl at 145kph in the death overs, where we leaked a lot of runs before. With their additions, it is going to be a bit different this season. Both of them, Jhye and Meredith have got pace. Dawid Malan is the number one T20I batsman. Fabian Allen is another guy who can make a lot of impact down the order and with the ball. So yes, the additions are looking good. ” Jaffer said. 


With the ICC World Test Championship final and T20 World Cup around the corner, players would want to keep themselves fresh for the showpiece events. With Punjab Kings having key players from the Indian team in their set-up, all eyes would be on them as to how they manage the workload of vital players. Jaffer said that Punjab Kings looked after workload management of key players last season and are looking to do the same this season in a bid to avoid burnout.  

“We have always looked after our players. Anil bhai (Anil Kumble), Andrew (Andrew Leipus) and the medical staff are there to look after the workload management aspect of the game. We don't our players to suffer from burnout. And even last season, we took care of the workload of our players. It is important to keep the players fresh to get the best out of them,” Jaffer concluded.