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With Dhawan in rehab, PBKS batters need to fire

April 17, 2024 20:14 IST

England's batters including Liam Livingstone, have been below par this season

IMAGE: Punjab Kings' batters, including Liam Livingstone, have been below par this season. Photograph: BCCI

Punjab Kings' influential skipper Shikhar Dhawan is currently undergoing rehabilitation after suffering a shoulder injury, the team's spin-bowling coach Sunil Joshi said on Wednesday.

Sam Curran stood in as Punjab Kings captain in Dhawan's absence in their match against Rajasthan Royals.


While he is set to miss Thursday's match against Mumbai Indians here, Dhawan also remains doubtful for the April 21 game against Gujarat Titans.

"Regarding Shikhar, the medical team will update. As for now, he is under rehab," Joshi said at the pre-match press conference.

Dhawan hasn't had a great time with the bat in IPL 2024, but is still Kings' highest run-getter currently with 152 runs from five innings, scoring at a strike rate of 125.61.

Joshi also said it's high time the top-order batters find their groove and lift the team that is struggling at the seventh place with just two wins and four losses.

The only bright spot for PBKS this season has been resolute displays from their unsung Indian players Shashank Singh and Ashutosh Sharma, who both bat lower in the order and have had to make up for the shortcomings at the top more than once.

"See it's always like bowlers win tournaments, batsmen win matches. And our bowling unit is definitely doing well consistently in all the areas. It's time our batters take responsibility," Joshi said.

"We have addressed the areas where we needed to look at, to score runs. And also coming into this wicket, it's a challenge for batters also.

"Straightway, unlike other wickets in India, this is a challenging wickets for every batter, especially for the visitors, it's going to be a challenge because the nature of bounce is completely different. So, it's advantage for us, I guess," the former India left-arm spinner added.

Jonny Bairstow, Dhawan's opening partner, has had a rough time too, scoring just 96 runs in six innings, while Prabhsimran Singh (119 runs in six innings) and Jitesh Sharma (106 runs in six innings) have struggled for consistency and impact also.

With selection for the World Cup squad on the horizon, Jitesh, who is averaging 17.66, would be under the pump.

"In T20s, when you go through the first half of the tournament you will understand what sort of an approach you need to look at.

"At the same time you need to look at the target and whether you can approach it in a different way to approach that target because we have done well in the middle and we have had a great finish.

"Two new boys -- Shashank and Ashutosh -- have chipped in. It's time for the top-order to get into the groove and do a good job for us."

PBKS will have to find more support for their overseas bowling duo of Curran (126 runs and 8 wickets) and Kagiso Rabada (9). The Indian pair of Arshdeep Singh (9) and Harshal Patel (7) have both been easy targets for batters.

"In T20 anything can happen, even the last over what you saw yesterday (between KKR and RR), but nevertheless, they will all come back stronger.

"They know the conditions better, especially (Harpreet) Brar, because he has played and he plays domestic cricket in the same ground. He understands, and hopefully, he will come back stronger," Joshi said.

He added, "Each and every game is important and always our thought process is that we should strive to do well. If we look at the our last three games, they lasted till the last over, fifth ball of last over. So, it can be anybody's match, especially in this format.

"Our endeavour is to always take the match deep. Definitely, we have not done well in batting in power play, and we have addressed that issue."

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