Saha, Axar, Vijay, KXIP, IPL 2017
The only way for KXIP is up, after a miserable IPL 2016IANS

Glenn Maxwell, the mercurial batsman, is the man given the responsibility of turning the fortunes of the Kings XI Punjab around as the Preity Zinta co-owned franchise look to bounce back from a disappointing IPL 2016 campaign with one to remember in 2017.

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Kings XI are one of the few teams that have been there from the inception of the IPL, but yet to win a single title.

They have flirted with greatness every now and then, but for the most part they have landed on the disappointing season column.

Having made a few changes to their lineup this season and appointed a new captain, KXIP will hope this is the year that the Punjab lion roars.

How did last season go?

Not well, not well at all. Kings XI Punjab made a dreadful start under then new captain David Miller, and while there was a slight improvement under Murali Vijay, after the South African stepped down as the skipper, it was a pretty forgettable season.

The likes of Maxwell and Miller (the M&M partnership) were quite disappointing.

At the end of the league phase of the IPL 2016 season, Kings XI Punjab finished bottom of the table, picking up a mere eight points, with four wins and ten losses from 14 matches.

Who are the new players coming in? Any interesting buys during the IPL 2017 Player auction?

Quite a few interesting buys.

Eoin Morgan is one that stands out immediately. Kings XI Punjab got the England limited-overs captain for his base price of Rs 2 crore, and it could prove to be a really astute buy, not just because of the left-hander's worth with the bat but also because of his leadership abilities.

Morgan would have been the obvious pick as captain for IPL 2017, but KXIP have made a left-field choice with Maxwell.

Matt Henry, Martin Guptill, who will miss the early stages of the season, and Darren Sammy are also pretty solid buys from the auction, but KXIP spent most of their money on Indian talent.

Fast bowler Varun Aaron was picked up for Rs 2.8 crore, but their biggest buy was little-known pacer T Natarajan, who cost KXIP Rs 3 crore.

The other two buys are Rahul Tewatia (Rs 25 lakh) and Rinku Singh (Rs 10 lakh).

Glenn Maxwell, Kings XI Punjab, IPL 2017, captain, Australia
Glenn MaxwellIANS

What about the overseas players from last season? Who stands out and must perform?

The obvious ones are Maxwell and Miller. These two, on their day, can be the most destructive batsmen in this format. They must find more consistency, though.

Maybe the extra responsibility put on Maxwell will bring out the best in him, but then that is precisely what Kings XI hoped when they appointed Miller as their captain last season.

Morgan, Hashim Amla and Shaun Marsh will also be key players, so could Sammy if he gets a game, but the other main man in the overseas department is Marcus Stoinis. The Australian can win you a T20 game with bat or ball, and after a solid season last time out, expect Stoinis to grow in stature in IPL 2017.

And the Indian players?

Murali Vijay, Wriddhiman Saha, Manan Vohra, Varun Aaron, Gurkeerat Singh, Axar Patel, Sandeep Sharma, T Natarajan (due to the amount that KXIP paid for him).

There is so much potential in these players. Vohra has the ability to light up the IPL with his batting at the top.

Saha, if he can find the bating form from a couple of season ago, could do the same as well.

Gurkeerat Singh has bags of talent, but something is still missing.

Axar Patel is kind of an India regular, and at one point threatened Ravindra Jadeja for a place in the playing XI. He needs to find his potency with ball and bat.

Sandeep Sharma, Varun Aaron and T Natarajan will be Kings XI's hopes with the new ball.

What does the entire squad look like?

Pretty decent, but there are better, more well-rounded ones out there.

KXIP squad: Indians: Varun Aaron, Anureet Singh, KC Cariappa, Armaan Jaffer, Gurkeerat Singh, Nikhil Naik, T Natarajan, Axar Patel, Wriddhiman Saha (WK), Pradeep Sahu, Sandeep Sharma, Mohit Sharma, Rinku Singh, Swapnil Singh, Rahul Tewatia, Murali Vijay, Manan Vohra.


Overseas: Glenn Maxwell (C), Hashim Amla, Martin Guptill, Matt Henry, Shaun Marsh, David Miller, Eoin Morgan, Darren Sammy, Marcus Stoinis.

When is their opening match?

Saturday, April 8 against RPS in Indore.

What can we expect from KXIP this season?

To finish in the top four and take it from there, like all teams, will be the target. All the other seven teams look pretty strong, however.

If Kings XI are to make it to the top four after the league phase of the season, they'll need their big overseas guns to shine, particularly Maxwell, Miller and Stoinis.

Don't bet on them making it to the playoffs, even with the great Virender Sehwag as the mentor.