The Punjab Franchise were dealt a major blow when Jonny Bairstow was ruled out of Indian T20 League due to a freak injury. The Englishman was an important player for the franchise as he was their primary wicketkeeper and a top-order batsman. However, the team management is now on the lookout for a replacement for Bairstow, and they have several options to choose from.
Here's a look at the five players who could replace Jonny Bairstow in the Punjab team for Indian T20 League 2023.
1. Jason Roy
Jason Roy has been in sensational form in recent times, and as per reports, Punjab have already approached him for the upcoming season. Roy is a powerful top-order batsman who can score runs quickly and provide the team with a solid start. His game against spin has improved in recent years, which would be beneficial for the franchise on slow and turning pitches.
In the recently concluded PSL 2023, Roy scored 245 runs in just seven matches with a strike rate of 166.67. He could be a like-to-like replacement for Bairstow and provide the team with the much-needed firepower at the top of the order.
2. Kusal Mendis
Kusal Mendis is another player who could replace Jonny Bairstow in the Punjab team. While Jitesh Sharma is available as an option behind the stumps, Mendis is a good choice as a top-order batsman who can provide the team with quick runs.
Shikhar Dhawan is known to take his time at the start of an innings, and Mendis' inclusion would provide the team with a good option for big-hitting. While he may not have the same impact as Bairstow, he would be a useful addition to the team.
3. Dasun Shanaka
Dasun Shanaka is a Sri Lankan all-rounder who could be a useful addition to the Punjab team. He is a hard-hitting batsman who can score runs quickly and also bowl some useful overs. Shanaka has been a regular fixture in the Sri Lankan team in recent times and has also played in various T20 leagues around the world.
While he may not be a like-to-like replacement for Bairstow, Shanaka's all-round abilities could prove to be beneficial for the team.
4. Tom Kohler-Cadmore
Tom Kohler-Cadmore is an English batsman who was in good form in the recently concluded PSL. He scored 325 runs in 12 matches with a strike rate of 160.10 and could be a valuable addition to the Punjab team.
Kohler-Cadmore is a big-hitting batsman who can provide the team with quick runs at the top of the order. However, his inclusion would require the team to re-arrange their batting order, which could mean a youngster opening the batting alongside Shikhar Dhawan.
5. Reeza Hendricks
Reeza Hendricks is a South African batsman who could be a good replacement for Jonny Bairstow in the Punjab team. Hendricks is an experienced player who has played in various T20 leagues around the world.
He is a top-order batsman who can score runs quickly and provide the team with a solid start. Hendricks' inclusion would provide the team with a good option at the top of the order, and he could prove to be a valuable addition to the team.