Tamil Thalaivas haven't tasted success in the Pro Kabaddi League since making their debut in the league back in PKL 5. The squad has boasted big names like Ajay Thakur, Amit Hooda, Manjeet Chhillar, Mohit Chhillar, Ran Singh and Rahul Chaudhari in previous seasons. However, the Chennai-based franchise hasn't been able to get out of bottom position since their debut.
Inconsistent performances with too many captaincy options hurt them last season as there was a notable clash of leadership back then. They also lacked depth in the squad, with no one stepping up to lead them towards wins in those seasons.
Tamil Thalaivas didn't retain any players from the Elite Retained Players (ERP) list ahead of PKL Season 8. Sagar Rathee, M Abishek, and Himanshu were the only players that stayed in Tamil Thalaivas as the New Young Players (NYP).
In this article, we take an in-depth look at the Tamil Thalaivas squad for PKL Season 8 through a SWOT analysis.
SWOT analysis of Tamil Thalaivas PKL 8 squad
Tamil Thalaivas have managed to assemble an offensive unit of talented youngsters who proved to be match-winners last season. The likes of K Prapanjan, Manjeet Dahiya, Athul MS, Ajinkya Ashok Pawar, Bhavani Rajput, and Sourabh Tanaji Patil in the ranks give them the depth that the team has lacked in the past.
All eyes will be upon recruits Manjeet Dahiya and K Prapanjan to lead their offense in PKL 8. Manjeet Dahiya impressed everyone last season with 123 raid points and 28 tackle points. Local boy K Prapanjan, meanwhile, returns to his former team after playing a vital role for the Bengal Warriors in their title win in the seventh edition of the PKL.
Arguably the best right cover defender and astute leader, PO Surjeet Singh will likely lead the Tamil Thalaivas this year. With 278 tackle points and a record of most High-5s by any player in the PKL (27), Surjeet's presence in the team could bolster the team's confidence as the Thalaivas look to start afresh next season.
Other than PO Surjeet Singh, Tamil Thalaivas do not have many established defenders in their ranks. The corner duo of Sagar Rathee and Sagar Krishna don't inspire a ton of confidence. Meanwhile, cover defenders like M Abishek and Santhapanaselvam haven't shown glimpses of brilliant tackles in previous seasons.
Another area of concern for Tamil Thalaivas is the lack of sufficient experience on the side. They face a dearth of promising players and will hope that their latest domestic buys will help them win games.
Tamil Thalaivas have faced criticism from all corners since their debut in the PKL. They have finished bottom of the points table in all three seasons played thus far and will be keen to improve this record in PKL 8. It presents them with the perfect opportunity to establish themselves as a side to be taken seriously in the days to come.
J Udaya Kumar is one of India's most illustrious kabaddi coaches, who has guided India to two World Cups and three Asian Games gold medals. Kumar, being the head coach of Tamil Thalaivas, could help the youngsters play to their true potential in the upcoming eighth season of the PKL.
Raiders like Manjeet Dahiya and K Prapanjan will have immense pressure on their backs to deliver as frontline raiders for the Tamil Thalaivas this season. They were bought at an enormous sum of ₹92 lakh and ₹71 lakh, respectively. As neither of them have played as lead raiders before, this raiding pair could be under pressure to deliver for the entirety of their campaign.
With a fresh squad filled with youngsters, the results could go either way for the Chennai-based franchise, as the players are new to the side and will be playing as a unit for the first time. Tamil Thalaivas will have to start from scratch and perform well to succeed in the next PKL season.