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IPL 2023: Short named replacement for ‘irreplaceable’ Bairstow; PBKS will miss enforcer in top-order

IPL 2023: Matthew Short named replacement for ‘irreplaceable’ Jonny Bairstow; Punjab Kings (PBKS) will miss enforcer in top-order. Short was named Player of the Tournament in BBL 2022-23, he scored 458 runs at a strike rate of 144.47 and picked up 11 wickets.

IPL 2022, PBKS vs RCB, Top Performances_ Jonny Bairstow gets player of the match against RCB for his 66-run innings, PBKS beat RCB _ Walking Wicket (Images ©BCCI_IPL)
Bairstow to miss IPL 2023 entire season due to Injury (Images ©IPL/Twitter)

Punjab Kings (PBKS) suffered a blow even before the start of the 16th edition of Indian Premier League (IPL) with the news of England star batter Jonny Bairstow being ruled out of the entire competition. The star batter has missed cricket since last September due to a freak injury he sustained.

As per reports, Australia’s Matthew Short has been named as the replacement for Bairstow but it's certain that the latter will be thoroughly missed by PBKS in IPL 2023. Matthew Short was named Player of the Tournament in BBL 2022-23, he scored 458 runs at a strike rate of 144.47 and picked up 11 wickets.

Bairstow was expected to be fully fit in the coming weeks but the England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has not given NOC to Bairstow to keep him fresh for the upcoming Ashes, followed by the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 to be held later this year in India.

Opener slot sees big void for PBKS

In the current squad, PBKS don’t have an established overseas opening batter apart from Jonny Bairstow. They did have Indian international player Mayank Agarwal in the set-up but he was released ahead of the auctions and the situation could get tricky for Punjab Kings.

Bairstow’s absence will badly affect PBKS as the right-hander was most likely to be the opening partner for skipper Shikhar Dhawan in the batting order. And him not being there leaves a big void at the top of the order.

Without Bairstow, PBKS will miss an enforcer in the top-order

Jonny Bairstow can be regarded as the pioneer of Bazball style of play followed by England in Test cricket and his numbers in white-ball cricket are quite astonishing. In 95 ODIs the 33-year-old has played for England, he has amassed 3634 runs at a mind-blowing strike rate of 104.12 while averaging over 46. In T20Is, his strike rate increases to 136.43 in 66 games.

Bairstow has created a similar impact in the IPL as he has done for England. In 39 IPL games since making his debut in 2019, Bairstow has scored 1291 runs at a strike rate of 142.65 with a century to his name. Though his numbers took a hit last season where he averaged only 23, but this can be attributed to PBKS’ tinkering with his batting order.

Without Bairstow in their ranks, PBKS will miss an enforcer at the top of the batting order, a batter who can take advantage of the powerplays, a ruthless batter who can demolish any bowling attack on a given day.

IPL 2023: Prabhsimrah Singh could be another option for Punjab Kings in Bairstow's absence | Walking Wicket (Images: ©BCCI/IPL)
Prabhsimrah could be another option for Punjab in Bairstow's absence (Images: ©IPL/Twitter)

There is no established Indian batter in the PBKS ranks other than Shikhar Dhawan who can bat at the top of the order. They do have Prabhsimran Singh, a 22-year-old wicketkeeper batter from Punjab but he has played only 6 games in the IPL in a stretch of four years. But his domestic T20 numbers are encouraging where he has made 1156 runs striking at 137.94 at an average of over 37 with a T20 century to his name. He may get a rope in the PBKS team at some point, but they do need to look for a suitable replacement for Bairstow.

Apart from Prabhsimran Singh, only Shahrukh Khan and Jitesh Sharma have played any significant roles for the PBKS in the last few seasons. Shahrukh has played 19 games for PBKS but his impact is minimal compared to his exploits in the Indian domestic circuit. Jitesh, the keeper-batter, has also shown great potential last season where he made 234 runs at a strike rate of 163.64 in 12 innings. And both of these swashbuckling players are expected to play a key role as the middle-order batter cum finisher in what is a depleted Indian batting line-up. Other than the duo, Harpreet Brar may get some game time as an all-rounder.

PBKS Complete Squad

Shikhar Dhawan (c), Shahrukh Khan, Jonny Bairstow, Prabhsimran Singh, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Jitesh Sharma, Raj Bawa, Rishi Dhawan, Liam Livingstone, Atharva Taide, Arshdeep Singh, Nathan Ellis, Baltej Singh, Kagiso Rabada, Harpreet Brar, Rahul Chahar, Sam Curran, Sikandar Raza, Harpreet Bhatia, Vidwath Kaverappa, Shivam Singh, and Mohit Rathe

PBKS play their first game in IPL 2023 against Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) at the IS Bindra PCA Stadium in Mohali on April 1.


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