If one takes a look at the previous seasons of the Pro Kabaddi League, it is pretty evident that the most successful team in the competition has been Patna Pirates.
Patna’s squad (after the second season) has revolved around one man - Pardeep Narwal. Ever since Pardeep became a part of this franchise, the team has gone on to claim some very big feats in Kabaddi.
The three-time champions weren’t firm favourites this season but they were expected to make it to the playoffs at the least. However, poor displays and a lack of team effort saw Patna crash out of the race to the playoffs quite early. They never seemed to be in the hunt and were made to pay the price for the same.
Here is a brief review of their PKL 2019 season.
Played: 22 | Won: 8 | Lost: 13 | Tie: 1 | Total: 51 - Finished 8th.
Total points scored: 774.
Total points conceded: 745.
Raid points: 447.
Tackle points: 225.
All-outs conceded: 26.
Overall win percentage: 36.36%.
Pardeep Narwal, one of the biggest names in the sport today, added yet another milestone to his kitty when he became the first player to score 1000 career points in the Pro Kabaddi League earlier this season.
His superb form just doesn’t know any end. With his incredible escape skills and the amazing game sense, Pardeep carried the weight of his team’s attacking unit throughout the season.
He ended his campaign with 304 points that included 15 super 10s and an impressive average of 13.72.
Also, defender Neeraj Kumar looked decent this season. Having missed the last season, Neeraj made a comback of sorts after scoring 59 tackle points. He also became the joint holder of the record for most tackle points in a single PKL match (10) against Puneri Paltan.
What did not work?
The absence of a good assisting raider hurt Patna this season. Jang Kun Lee could not live up to his standards. He looked scratchy in the middle and got out quite often. The heat map of his raids was concentrated in the region close to the right corner. That removed the diversity factor from his raids and gave defenders an upper hand against him.
His partner Mohammad Esmaeil also couldn’t fit well into the supporting role. His lmeagre scores weren’t good enough to provide much needed acceleration to the team.
The defensive front had some big names like Hadi Oshtorak and Jaideep. Patna’s corner combo looked quite stable at the start but it didn’t last long. Both their corners lacked coordination and were involved in a lot of advanced tackles.
Their support raiders could not pick up enough touch points and the defensve unit also looked brittle. In short, Patna failed to revive Pardeep in time. As a result, their strike raider spent a lot of time off court and that applied brakes on Patna’s momentum.
Patna might look to replace Jang Kun Lee as he could not provide Pardeep with the support he needed. Also, Mohammad Esmaeil didn’t really add any depth to the squad. So, one may feel that Patna need to change their foreign players going ahead.
All-rounders Monu and Vikas Jaglan need more matchtime in order to improve. Patna have decent defenders but they need better all-rounders if they want to be competitive next season.