After it was confirmed that Dawid Malan will not be traveling to UAE for second phase of IPL 2021, the news came as a huge setback for Punjab Kings. However, it seems like that the franchise was well aware of Malan's plans as they have taken no time to announce his replacement. PBKS have roped in South Africa's talented cricketer Aiden Markram for remainder of the season and there is no doubt that the right-handed batsman could prove to be a brilliant addition for them on turning UAE pitches.
Meanwhile, the franchise also provided an update on Malan as they stated, "Dawid Malan will not be travelling to UAE for the remainder of #IPL2021. He will be taking some time off to be with his family ahead of the #T20WorldCup and Ashes."
Can Markram turn Punjab's fortunes in second half of season?
Punjab Kings had a very mixed first half of the season in India where they lost 5 out of their 8 matches. The franchise currently sits at 6th position in the points table and are still in contention of making it through to the play-offs. However, they will need some of their big players to step up and Markram could prove to be one of them.
Although the Protean has no prior experience of playing in IPL, he is a proven match-winner for national side. Markram has played 13 T20Is for South Africa and has scored 405 runs at an impressive strike-rate of 150. He is also one of the best players of spin in the world right now, which could make him the X-factor for Punjab on slow and sluggish tracks in UAE.
The 26-year-old demonstrated his class on Friday during the 1st T20I between South Africa and Sri Lanka in Colombo. On a pitch where most of the batsmen struggled, Markram played a match-winning 33-ball 48-run knock setting up an emphatic win for his side.
Fans will see a new-look Punjab side in UAE
Punjab Kings are one such side who will have quite a few new faces in their squad for second phase of IPL 2021. Apart from Markram, KL Rahul's side had earlier also roped in Nathan Ellis and Adil Rashid as replacements for Riley Meredith and Jhye Richardson. It will be really interesting to see if the new signings can turn the fortunes of the franchise in UAE.