Will the revamped Bengaluru Bulls spit the same fire as last year?
What's in store for the Bulls at next year's Pro Kabaddi League? We explore.
Ever since the word of a league with Kabaddi stars started to float in and around Bengaluru, there was a hint of sheer excitement in the air. This was only intensified when it was announced that Kosmic Global Media (KGM) bagged the ownership of a team based at Kanteerava indoor stadium in Bengaluru, which was christened ‘Bengaluru Bulls’. Sporting an attire of red, golden-yellow and black, surging ahead with a tagline indicating themselves as ‘Fully Charged’, it led to an outright anticipation of the league’s inauguration, the first of it’s kind in Bengaluru.
Recap of Seasons 1 and 2:
The first season saw a lot of glitz and glamour, but the Bengaluru team was in its own league. During the initial draft, the Bulls made a very strong but expensive buy in the lanky and experienced Ajay Thakur, who they bought for a whopping 12.2 lakh rupees.
Apart from this, the squad possessed men of great calibre like Dharmaraj Cheralathan, who was then the defense lynchpin of the Bull’s squad. In the Captain Manjeet Chillar, there was a sense of having a man filled with wisdom and knowledge to guide the team to success.
The Bulls played 14 matches, tasting victory in 8 matches and lost in 5 of them, tieing the score in one match, which gained them 47 points to take 3rd position on the points table. Expressing his almost flawless defense tactics during the season, the Bengaluru skipper was honoured with the tag of ‘best defender of the season’, bagging a scorching 51 points.
The second season of the Pro Kabaddi league saw Bengaluru Bulls win matches in a heap, overcoming obstacles in their path with much aplomb and style only to lose the final to a ever-young U Mumba squad led by the unmatchable Anup Kumar. It was undoubtedly the Bull’s dream run since the inception of the league which was possible mainly because of the sheer class and experience the team captain Manjeet Chillar had in his artillery.
In a tough road to the final against Telugu Titans in the semi-final, Manjeet snatched victory from the jaws of victory, keeping calm and showing his mettle. Having gobbled up time, he sprinted back to his own half, only to see the distress on the face of the Titans players when poster boy Rahul Chaudari could not score points in time to seal the game for the biys in Yellow.
Whenever the Bulls were in a spot of bother, the captain took it upto himself, making key raids and sending in the right mix of raiders and defenders, generating the transition to victory easier for the bulls on almost all occassions.
The upcoming season and how it stands for the Bulls:
Named as the Most Valuable Player for the previous edition PKL 2015, Manjeet was undoubtedly the frontrunner for being the most wanted player when the draft was to take place. He did stand up to this point, ending up with the highest price tag given to a player this PKL 2016 draft. The Puneri Paltans made a lot of strong bids, roping in Manjeet and alongside him, talented Himachal Pradesh lad Ajay Thakur who was also unarguably the Bulls’ star raider.
With this, Bengaluru surely lost two of their best. Adding to this, Bull’s top defender of 2015, Dharmaraj Cheralathan also shifted his base to the Telugu Titans. Having lost the trio of the prime players, coach Randhir Singh was left with no option but to rope in a few young prospects.
With this, it seemed as a face-lift of the Bengaluru Bulls’ force to which coach Randhir claimed that it was a ‘strategy’, letting go of the stalwarts to rope in a few unseen, untested players who were hungry to succeed on the mat in a bid to bolster kabaddi talent in India.
The coach had been making the rounds of India in search of some genuine talents, and was impressed with the young batch that he managed to muster. The only notable additon into the side was the seasoned Surjeet Narwal, who represented Dabang Delhi the previous season.
Although the revamped Bulls might have lost a few of their pillars, It surely will be interesting to see if the young men in the squad at the moment will take it upon themselves to keep up the momentum the Bulls force had the erstwhile season, and on who’s shoulder the responsibility will lie to lead the young brigade.