Punjab plagued by fitness worries
One of the major concerns for Kings XI Punjab ahead of the third season of the IPL is a long injury list. The IPL begins on March 12 and Punjab play their first two games on March 13 and 16, but they are likely to field XIs that may not include a few first-choice players. Sample the injury concerns: Shaun Marsh, Punjab's success story of 2008, looks unlikely to be fit for the start. Their most expensive overseas player, fast bowler Brett Lee, is also beset with fitness problems. Irfan Pathan seems likely to miss the first few matches and Yuvraj Singh, Punjab's highest run scorer in 2009, has only recently begun batting after his latest injury. It is hardly an enviable position for their new captain Kumar Sangakkara, and key to Punjab even nearing the semi-finals this year will be having the entire squad fit and available for the tournament.
Punjab were one of the best teams in the inaugural IPL, cruising into the semi-finals, but had a tough time in the second season, affected by the injuries to fast bowlers Sreesanth and Jerome Taylor, and the unavailability of Australian players for much of the competition. Punjab's Indian bowlers had done the trick in 2008 but found it tough in South Africa the following season, and their team could suffer if that is the case as the bandwagon moves back to India.