Nagraj Gollapudi is news editor at ESPNcricinfo
The Kings XI Punjab will now be called Punjab Kings. The idea behind the change is to "add a fresh look and fresh feel," Mohit Burman, one of the co-owners of the franchise, said.
According to Burman, the franchise, which also has Ness Wadia, Preity Zinta and Karn Paul as the other owners, will also unveil a new logo on Wednesday as part of its rebranding strategy. Burman, who is vice-chairman at Dabur India Pvt. Ltd, said the plan to rename the team had been in the works for at least a year.
Burman said that the franchise decided to change the name following not just in-house feedback but also from fans. "We put it to research, both with fans and with closed groups and have finally arrived at the new name," Burman told ESPNcricinfo. "The idea behind the new name is to add a fresh look and a fresh feel to the franchise. As with any product/service, everything has its own life cycle and we believe given the changing ethos and the audience taste we thought it was apt for the brand to go through a complete new refresh."
The franchise has timed the rebranding exercise in the week of the IPL auction. In fact, the new name and the logo will be unveiled the day before the auction - a small one this year - where a total of 61 slots are available for the eight franchises to fill their teams up.
The Kings have the strongest purse this auction at INR 53.9 crore having released several players recently including Glenn Maxwell, Sheldon Cottrell, K Gowtham, who were some of the most expensive buys at the 2020 auction. Overall the Kings have nine slots to fill to reach the maximum squad strength of 25, including five overseas players.
Instability has been among the factors that have hurt the franchise in the 13 seasons, during which they made the playoffs only twice: in 2008 and 2014.
Last year the franchise spent INR 68.5 crore out of the total purse of 85 crore under the new team management led by former Indian captain Anil Kumble, who took charge as the team director. India wicketkeeper-batsman KL Rahul was named the new captain. Although Rahul was the most consistent performer last season, Maxwell's weak form combined with the close defeats in three crucial matches hurt their playoff chances as they finished sixth.
The Kings are the second franchise to opt for a new name. In 2018, the Delhi Daredevils rebranded themselves as the Delhi Capitals after Indian business conglomerate Jindal South-West (JSW) Group bought a 50% stake in the franchise, which is co-owned by GMR Sports Private Ltd.
KPH Dream Cricket Private Limited, the consortium that owns Kings XI, recently also purchased the Caribbean Premier League team St Lucia Zouks about a year ago.