England wicketkeeper batter Jonny Bairstow is likely to make his IPL debut for Punjab Kings in a game against Chennai Super Kings on 3 April at Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai. Bairstow, who was busy till now with his national duties in three-match Test series against West Indies, joined the Punjab camp on 31 March and was going mandatory quarantine in the team's camp.
Notably, Bairstow is enjoying great form in the 2022 season as he was England's best batter against West Indies. Bairstow's crucial 100 in the first innings of the 1st Test enabled England a fighting draw. Bairstow has played 28 IPL games and has scored 1038 runs at an average of 41.52. This will be his fourth year in the cash-rich league and first for Punjab Kings after representing Sunrisers Hyderabad for three years.
Speaking of Punjab Kings, Mayank Agarwal-led side managed to beat Royal Challengers Bangalore in their opening fixture of the season. Chasing a target of 206, Odean Smith pummeled his way to an eight-ball unbeaten 25. Bhanuka Rajapaksa also played his part in the innings. The Sri Lankan wicketkeeper got Punjab King's run chase going by scoring a breezy 41. However, Punjab could not defend 137 in their game against Kolkata Knight Riders before none of the batters could display impressive batting skills in the game.
Wicket-keeper batter Rajapaksa was the highest run-scorer for the side as he scored a blistering 31 off 9, followed by Rabada's 25 off 16.
Bairstow's inclusion in the squad might axe the chances of Liam Livingstone or Raj Bawa in the squad, but certainly, his addition will bolster Punjab's batting lineup. The rest of the team is likely to remain the same as the team has just received one defeat in two games. Kagiso Rabada boosted PBKS' bowling and will lead the pace attack, which will include Arshdeep Singh and Odean Smith. Rahul Chahar will lead the spin attack and will be assisted by Harpreet Brar in the line-up.