The Pro Kabaddi 2021 player auction saw teams involved in fierce bidding wars to acquire the talents of their choice. Several teams managed to assemble strong squads at the end of the three-day auction process.
With some of Pro Kabaddi’s biggest names like Pardeep Narwal, Rahul Chaudhari and Ajay Thakur part of the auction this year, most teams went all-out to bolster their raiding department.
Ahead of the new Pro Kabaddi season which is slated to begin from December 22, we take a look at how the teams are shaping up and who has the strongest attack on paper.
Dabang Delhi K.C.
Dabang Delhi K.C. have one of the most lethal attacks on paper with the duo of Naveen Kumar and Ajay Thakur in their ranks. While Naveen was the MVP of the league last season for his 303 raid points, Ajay Thakur brings a wealth of experience to the team having been a part of the victorious Indian team in the 2014 Asian Games and 2016 Kabaddi World Cup. They seem to provide the perfect blend of youth and experience, which is why Dabang Delhi K.C. are one of the frontrunners for the title in the upcoming season.
With the costliest buy in Pro Kabaddi history in their ranks, U.P. Yoddha will be a force to be reckoned with in the new season. Boosted by the acquisition of Pardeep Narwal, U.P. Yoddha will be hoping to go all the way after narrowly missing out on the final berth in the last two editions of the league. In Shrikant Jadhav, they seem to have the perfect support raider for Pardeep on the mat. The Maharashtra-born Jadhav scored 6.72 points on an average last season, which justifies his selection by the UP franchise.
Defending champions Bengal Warriors boast one of the strongest attacks - if not the strongest - on paper this year at first glance. Maninder Singh, Mohammad Esmail Nabibaksh, Rishank Devadiga and Sukesh Hegde form a potent attack quartet that can wreak havoc on the mat against any opposition. Maninder Singh and Nabibaksh, in particular, were the key players in Bengal’s title-winning campaign last season as the duo scored 38 percent of Bengal’s total points en-route to lifting the trophy.
After enduring a tough last couple of seasons of Pro Kabaddi, the Anup Kumar-coached side have focussed on strengthening their raiding unit this year. With Rahul Chaudhari and Nitin Tomar as lead raiders backed by Pankaj Mohite as the support act, Pune look like one of the most complete sides as far as their raiding department is concerned. Pune’s fortunes will however be pinned heavily on Rahul Chaudhari’s form as the Showman looks to rediscover his magic on the mat after a few underwhelming seasons compared to his lofty standard.
Telugu Titans will be hopeful of a better showing this year after a disappointing season last time around. Apart from putting their faith in Siddharth Desai in the auction once again, Telugu Titans also signed the experienced Rohit Kumar who might just be the missing piece in the jigsaw for the southern franchise. The Siddharth-Rohit combination has the potential to work wonders for Telugu Titans if they can be at their best. While Siddharth Desai scores at an average of 10.11 per match, Rohit’s incredible not out percentage of 79 in Pro Kabaddi indicates why the raiding combo could work well.
Author: Kaustubh Potdar
Featured photo: PKL / Website