What’s the story?
Caribbean all-rounder Darren Sammy has joined Kings XI Punjab’s squad at their home base in Mohali. The 33-year-old has resumed training and will be available for the team’s upcoming clash against Sunrisers Hyderabad.
It is pertinent to note that the two-time World T20 winner had been absent during the early stages of the 2017 edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL). The franchise did not provide any reason for his unavailability thus far and hence his brief sabbatical remains mysterious in many ways.
A couple of months ago, Sammy was picked up in the IPL auction at his base price of INR 30 Lakhs. During the early part of March, the hard-hitter turned out for Hung Hom Jaguars in the Hong Kong Twenty20 Blitz.
The heart of the matter
A veteran of 242 T20 matches, Sammy has represented an array of teams across the globe. He has scored 2927 runs at an average of 20.61 and picked up 154 wickets at an economy rate of 7.85. The right-hander last played for West Indies in the 2016 World T20.
Upon leading his side to the title, he had a fall-out with the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) and was removed from captaincy. Even though he is available for selection in both ODIs and T20Is, the all-rounder has not been picked since then.
A T20 freelancer now, he will be looking to contribute to Kings XI Punjab’s campaign in the 2017 IPL. With three victories and four losses, the franchise are currently fifth in the points table. A spot in the playing eleven is up for grabs as Marcus Stoinis has not managed to light up the tournament with either bat or ball. If provided an opportunity, Sammy could fit into the role quite nicely.
On Friday, Kings XI will play for the first time in their home venue, Punjab Cricket Association IS Bindra Stadium at Mohali. It remains to be seen if skipper Glenn Maxwell and the team management bring Sammy into the action straightaway against a strong Sunrisers side.
With his vast experience in the shortest format of the game, Sammy’s availability should be a massive boost to Punjab’s fortunes. Aside from scoring vital runs in the closing stages of the innings, he can also slip in some quiet overs with the ball.