Three-time champions Patna Pirates parted ways with their star raider Pardeep Narwal ahead of the PKL Auction 2021, which was a massive surprise among the kabaddi fraternity this year. The 'Record-breaker' went on to become the most expensive player in PKL history after UP Yoddha splurged a whopping ₹1.65 crore to sign him at the auction.
The Patna-based franchise have struggled to make it to the playoffs in the past two seasons after their glorious run of three consecutive PKL titles. The Pirates had been lacking a proper defensive setup as well as someone who could support Pardeep Narwal in his raids.
The Patna Pirates retained their explosive right cover defender Neeraj Kumar and all-rounder Monu as Elite Retained Players (ERP). The likes of Sahil Mann, Rajveersinh Pratap Rao Chavan, and Mohit found their names on the retention list in the NYP category.
In this article, we take an in-depth look at the Patna Pirates squad for PKL Season 8 through a SWOT analysis.
SWOT analysis of Patna Pirates PKL 8 squad
The Patna Pirates have signed a plethora of raiding options this year. Over the years, the Pirates have been over-reliant upon their star raider Pardeep Narwal to win them games single-handedly.
However, the addition of Sachin Tanwar, Prashanth Kumar Rai, Jang Kun Lee and Monu Goyat gives them a plethora of options in the offensive unit. These raiders have been match-winners for their respective sides in the past and can strike the right balance heading into the PKL 8.
Right-cover defender Neeraj Kumar had a breakthrough debut season with 59 tackle points and four High-5s in 22 matches in PKL 7. The defender brings a lot to the table with his dives and body blocks, which are a treat to watch.
Likewise, Haryana Steelers' right corner Sunil was sensational with his ankle holds as he notched up 55 tackle points in 21 outings in the seventh season. Patna Pirates will have a great time with these youngsters on whom they have banked upon for PKL 8.
The defensive unit as a whole for the Patna Pirates squad this year looks unsettled, with no one experienced in playing in the left corner or left cover position. They lack dependable players in those positions. With Sandeep and Sajin Chandrasekar being inexperienced players as well, it is a concern for the side.
The team opted to leave Jaideep out, who served in the left corner position for three straight seasons. The likes of Neeraj and Sunil have played only one season in the PKL, and it seems that the team lacks experience in the defense, which could be another cause of concern for the Patna Pirates.
As youngsters tend to lose concentration early and could inflict advanced tackles, the Patna Pirates might have a hard time settling the defense in PKL 8.
The Patna Pirates have banked upon an Iranian prodigy in Mohammadreza Shadloui Chiyaneh, who represented the country in the Dubai Kabaddi Masters in 2018. Patna Pirates paid him ₹31 lakh in the PKL Auction 2021, making him the most expensive overseas signing in this year's auction.
Shadloui is an excellent all-rounder who loves to inflict waist holds and dives from the left corner position. He is also a gold medalist for Iran from the 2019 Junior World Kabaddi Championships. Shadloui is raring to go as he will be given the chance to showcase his talent in the upcoming PKL.
Meanwhile, experienced campaigners like Monu Goyat and Sachin Tanwar will be motivated to scale greater heights in the PKL Season 8.
Filling in the shoes of a big-match raider like Pardeep Narwal is a huge responsibility in itself. Sachin Tanwar, who was paid a whopping ₹84 lakh in the auction, will likely be the frontline raider for the Patna Pirates in PKL 7. The Pirates will have huge expectations from the lanky raider even though he wasn't at his best for Gujarat Giants in PKL 7.
The likes of Monu Goyat and Prashanth Kumar Rai have consistently suffered injuries. Given the circumstances they are in, Monu and Prashanth will play a vital role for the Patna Pirates in the long run. If they are not able to shine, the Patna Pirates could be in trouble next season.