Mayank Agarwal, the newly chosen captain of the Punjab Kings, feels the team has assembled a title-winning lineup for the IPL 2022, which begins on March 26. After four seasons with the squad, Agarwal was assigned the leadership role following the departure of his opening partner, K L Rahul, to the Lucknow franchise.
Agarwal scored 400-plus runs in the previous two seasons and created one of the finest opening pairs in the IPL with Rahul, but the club failed to make the playoffs.
In a quest to turn the tides for them, Punjab has revamped their squad, acquiring the services of star players with the likes of Shikhar Dhawan, Kagiso Rabada, Liam Livingstone, Jonny Bairstow, and Odean Smith at the IPL 2022 mega auction. Aside from the other retained player, Arshdeep Singh, Punjab also re-signed uncapped power-hitter Shahrukh Khan.
“We like to believe that we do have a title-winning squad and now it is upon us as players to execute our skills under pressure and see what we can make out of it,” Agarwal told PTI on Saturday.
For years, the squad has underperformed, and their last final participation was in 2014. The team’s administration has placed its hopes on its newest additions to turn around the team’s woes.
“As a team, we have done a good job at the auction. We were looking at a few skill sets knowing that the tournament will be played in Mumbai and we have covered those bases. We are happy with the balance we have in the side.”
Speaking about his responsibilities, both as a captain and a batter, Agarwal said, “When I am batting I am just a batsman. We have a lot of leaders and experience in the team and that makes it easier for me. I want to excel as a batsman and do the things I have been doing. (On the captaincy front) we have made our plans to take the team forward,” said the India Test opener.
The Punjab Kings captain, however, chose not to divulge much on the batting order of the team in the present moment. “I can’t talk about the batting order as of now but I can definitely say that we are excited to have Shikhar on board. He is an absolute livewire, a great entertainer, a massive performer and a lot of the guys will feed off his energy. He is also in great mind space.”
Agarwal stated that discussions about him managing the side have been ongoing for some time, and he is just enthusiastic about the prospect. When Rahul was sidelined last season, he temporarily commanded Punjab Kings, and he believes that experience will assist him this season.
“It definitely does help (having captained the team before). I have had a taste of what it feels like,” he said, adding that they do not feel any additional pressure of not winning a title.