Aakash Chopra reveals why Punjab Kings splurged INR 11.75 crores to acquire this former RCB star in IPL 2024 Auction
Former India cricketer turned pundit Aakash Chopra has analyzed why Punjab Kings (PBKS) splurged big to secure the services of an Indian star during the IPL 2024 auction last year December in Dubai. Chopra suggested that the franchise were on the lookout for an Indian fast bowling option to pair alongside their talisman pacer Arshdeep Singh.
Harshal Patel was hence roped in by PBKS for a staggering INR 11.75 crore after pipping the Gujarat Titans and Lucknow Super Giants in an intense bidding war.
Speaking on his Youtube channel, Chopra stated, "They had an Indian fast bowler in the form of Arshdeep (Singh) but apart from him, all their fast bowlers were overseas, whether it was Kagiso Rabada, Nathan Ellis or Sam Curran. So they needed a partner for Arshdeep who could provide some help in the death overs or with the new ball."
PBKS already has the likes of Nathan Ellis, Sam Curran and Kagiso Rabad in their fast-bowling ranks but Harshal's addition will give more flexibility to the squad dynamics and combinations.
Harshal Patel has fallen down the pecking order
Harshal Patel had a breakout season with the Royal Challengers Bangalore in IPL 2021 which led to his inclusion in India's 2022 T20 World Cup squad. He won the Purple Cap at end the season as the leading wicket-taker with 32 scalps to his name. He also claimed the record of becoming the first bowler to take a fifer against Mumbai Indians with a career-best spell of 5/27.
However, he failed to make them most of his chances, leaking expensive overs in the games that India played in the lead-up to the World Cup. Consequently, he fell out of the pecking order and the 'T20 Specialist' did not even feature in a single game in Australia.
In IPL 2022 and 2023, Harshal picked up 19 wickets and 14 wickets respectively before the RCB franchise decided to let go off the pacer ahead of the IPL 2024 auction.