When the seventh season of Pro Kabaddi 2019 was about to begin, there was an unreal hype around the Tamil Thalaivas. This was a team that boasted as many as four players from India’s World Cup winning team, in their starting seven.
It seemed as if they had all their bases covered. An explosive raiding combo in Rahul Chaudhari and Ajay Thakur. Experienced all-rounders in Manjeet Chillar and Shabeer Bapu and two of the strongest corners in Ran Singh and Mohit Chillar.
If at the start, you were told that this team would be languishing at the bottom of the table, you would have definitely laughed it off. However, the Thalaivas did struggle and had a season to forget.
So what went wrong? What did the Thalaivas miss? Were there any positives for them in the season? Here is a short review of their 2019 campaign.
Played: 22 | Won: 4 | Lost: 15 | Tie: 3 | Total: 37 - Finished last
Total points scored: 642
Total points conceded: 761
Raid points: 378
Tackle points: 192
All-outs conceded: 31
Overall win percentage: 18%
The Tamil Thalaivas unit comprised of many senior Kabaddi players and hence there were lesser chances for budding players to get an opportunity. Young raider V Ajith Kumar started the season playing in the shadows of Rahul and Ajay. He soon blossomed and gave a glimpse of what was about to follow.
The quick footed raider earned 121 points this season. His agility and game awareness were the key components of his successful season.
The fact that strike raider Rahul Chaudhari was looked upon as a support raider by the end of the season, tells you how efficient Ajith was throughout. His running hand touches and escape skills were also a treat to watch.
What did not work?
You know what they say about too many cooks? They spoil the broth. The Thalaivas had an eye-catching line-up of talented individuals but they failed to deliver as a unit. Rahul Chaudhari picked up only 138 points, a low number for his lofty standards. He seemed to lack direction and a proper game plan. His self confidence took a major hit and his raids looked hollow as a result.
Their key players Ajay Thakur and Manjeet Chillar missed majority of the season due to injuries.
Their corners Ran Singh and Mohit Chillar managed a combined total of only 83 points together. U Mumba’s Fazel Atrachali alone had a tally of 82! That shows how brittle the Thalaivas were this season.
Also, well-known raider Shabeer Bappu failed to create any impact. He managed a mere 29 points from 14 games and was well below par. In short, the experienced players disappointed big time.
The Thalaivas could be expected to make major changes to their team next season. They would want to have a more balanced squad with an equal spread of young talent and experience.
V Ajith Kumar looks like a promising player and he could be seen wearing the Thalaivas jersey again. As far as the other stars are concerned, they need to gather themselves and make sure that they come well prepared next season.