The Haryana Steelers had a decent season in the seventh season of the PKL, where the team managed to qualify for the playoffs.
Vikash Kandola's terrific performance in the offense and some notable defensive performances took them to the Eliminator. However, the team failed to win the second eliminator fixture against U Mumba, which ended their journey that season.
The Haryana-based franchise retained their explosive raider Vikash Kandola as an Elite Retained Player (ERP) ahead of the PKL Auction 2021. They also got back the do-or-die expert Vinay Tewthia, who was their find of the seventh season. Likewise, Chand Singh and Vikas Chhillar also found their names on the retention list in the NYP category.
In this article, we take an in-depth look at Haryana Steelers squad for PKL Season 8 through a SWOT analysis.
SWOT analysis of Haryana Steelers PKL 8 squad
The Haryana Steelers have formed an exciting raiding pair that will be led by Vikash Kandola and Rohit Gulia. Both players have played together for Indian Railways in the last three editions of the Senior Nationals and have found success.
They are versatile raiders who can raid in any given situation of the match. They also have Vinay in their ranks for the do-or-die raids. Hence, the Haryana Steelers have the most exciting raiding combination for PKL 8.
Surender Nada's return brings an immense boost to the defense for the Steelers this season. The last time he played for the Haryana-based franchise, he scored a mammoth 80 tackle points at an average of 3.52 per game.
Haryana's local boy Surender Nada has been troublesome for the raiders in the past. He continues to threaten the opposition today with his brilliant ankle holds. His presence in the side would be immensely valuable to the team in PKL 8.
The Haryana Steelers have bolstered the left side of the defense with Surender Nada in the corner and Ravi Kumar in the right cover. However, the same cannot be said for the right part of the defensive unit as there aren't any notable names for the right corner and left cover combination.
Left raiders like Pardeep Narwal and Deepak Niwas Hooda can score points in such areas with ease. Hence, coach Rakesh Kumar will likely have a hard time strategizing in such situations with no one to defend in that region.
The Haryana Steelers also immensely lack depth in their squad this year. The onus will be upon the main players like Vikash Kandola, Rohit Gulia, Vinay, and Surender Nada to stay fit and contribute in every match possible. This seems to be a worrying concern for the Steelers in Season 8.
Brijendra Singh Chaudhary has been a sensational player for Rajasthan in the last two Senior Nationals. He was the top raider for them in the 67th edition and went on to become the top defender for the state in the 68th edition. Rajasthan ended up winning bronze on both occasions.
His ability to raid as well as defend and contribute wholly to the side could prove to be valuable for the Haryana Steelers this season. The youngster could likely play his first match under coach Rakesh Kumar.
Speaking of Rakesh Kumar, youngsters like Chand Singh and Vinay Tewthia came under the spotlight last season. The coach is a former World Cup winner and 3-time Asian Games gold medalist. He understands the game. Youngsters like Rajesh Gurjar, Ajay Ghangas, Vikas Chhillar, and Vikas Jaglan will prosper under the guidance of Rakesh Kumar.
Rohit Gulia ended up fetching a contract of ₹83 lakhs from the Haryana Steelers on the second day of the PKL Auction 2021. Although he is a valuable performer who can contribute well to the offense, the price tag could mean that Rohit's every move will be scrutinized in PKL 8.
Rohit Gulia could be under immense pressure to score in every single match because of the price tag as it won't allow him to play freely in the upcoming edition.
Surender Nada played his last PKL match in October 2018. He hasn't played since then, as injuries have taken away a major part of his career. Whether Nada will be able to replicate his previous success for the Haryana Steelers after such a long gap will remain a question.
The likes of Rajesh Narwal and Mohammad Esmaeil Maghsoudlou will have immense pressure on their backs to prove their worth. Their current ongoing form in the sport proves to be a threat for the Haryana Steelers in the upcoming PKL Season 8.