Formerly known as the Gujarat Fortune Giants, the franchise shortened its title name to Gujarat Giants ahead of the PKL Auction 2021. Two-time finalists Gujarat Giants have established themselves as a breeding ground for budding talents in the PKL under head coach Manpreet Singh.
The Giants were expected to put up an impressive performance in the seventh edition after making it to two straight finals in PKL 5 & 6. However, their campaign was marred by a lot of trouble following the injury of their lead raider Sachin Tanwar. Their defense also couldn't deliver because of inconsistent performances. Hence, the team finished 9th in the points table in PKL 7.
Ahead of PKL Auction 2021, the Gujarat Giants retained their cover duo of Sunil Kumar and Parvesh Bhainswal as Elite Retained Players (ERP). Meanwhile, Sumit, Ankit, and Harmanjit Singh found themselves on the New Young Players (NYP) retention list.
Here's an in-depth look at the Gujarat Giants squad for PKL Season 8 through a SWOT analysis:
SWOT analysis of Gujarat Giants PKL 8 squad
Gujarat Giants are a tough team to score against. Alongside retaining the Sunil-Parvesh duo, the team has also signed 'The Hawk' Ravinder Pahal at a whopping amount of ₹74 lakh, who is the second-highest-scoring defender in PKL history. The Giants also snapped Maharashtrian Girish Maruti Ernak at ₹20 lakh in the right corner position.
Hence, the Giants have arguably the strongest defensive combination for PKL 8. Girish Ernak's ability to execute ankle holds and hard-hitting dashes and Ravinder Pahal's diving thigh holds, can prove to be threatening for the opposition. If you combine it with the best cover duo of Sunil and Parvesh, the Gujarat Giants can dismantle any given opposition on any given day.
Having a coach like Manpreet Singh who can turn youngsters into match winners is a boon for the franchise. The 2007 World Cup winner started coaching the Giants in PKL 5 and Sunil Kumar and Parvesh Bhainswal have evolved into big match players under his guidance. The youngsters, especially on offense, will be confident they can deliver on the big stage in the upcoming eighth season of the PKL.
The Gujarat Giants seem to have fallen short of firepower in the raiding department for PKL 8. Although the team comprises as many as eight raiders, the Gujarat-based franchise lacks an experienced raider who can consistently score raid points and change the complexion of the matches on his own.
Another major issue for the Gujarat Giants is the lack of a proper all-rounder in their ranks. An all-rounder is someone who can register victories with his ability to raid and defend at the same time. They have signed Hadi Oshtorak to the squad, but the Iranian is considered a proper defender who plays in the right corner position.
Only time will tell how much of a setback the lack of an experienced raider and an all-rounder could prove to be for the Giants, considering they have failed to deliver in crunch situations of crucial knockout matches.
As mentioned earlier, the Gujarat Giants have a reputation for encouraging their youngsters to step up and deliver on the big stage. Their offensive unit will surely benefit from the presence of Manpreet Singh in PKL 8. Mahendra Ganesh Rajput and Ajay Kumar will make their return to the Giants, a franchise for which they have played and succeeded in the past.
Sonu Jaglan and Rathan K will be the ones to have plenty of eyes on them. While Services' player Sonu Jaglan has shown his ability to convert a lead into big scores, Karnataka's Rathan K. will be making his debut in the PKL, where the latter is an expert in escapes and jumps.
Pardeep Kumar, Harshit Yadav and the Punjab-based raiders Harmanjit Singh and Maninder could shine if given opportunities.
Gujarat Giants have the rock-solid pair of Ravinder Pahal and Girish Ernak in their corners. Parvesh Bhainswal and Sunil Kumar have anchored the cover defense right from the team's inception. However, a slight slump in form or an injury to any of the four might trouble the Giants, considering they don't have corresponding backups for the frontline defenders. There will be immense pressure upon these four to deliver right from the get-go.
The strategy of working only with youngsters didn't pay off for head coach Manpreet Singh last season. The management added experience to their defensive unit at the auction but couldn't do the same for their offense. Once again, Manpreet Singh will need to make sure that the troops don't fall short of ammunition in the upcoming PKL Season 8.