The Telugu Titans are yet to win a title in the Pro Kabaddi League (PKL). The Hyderabad-based franchise has suffered due to inconsistent performances from its players, who haven't delivered in crunch situations over the past seven seasons.
The team revolved around their poster boy Rahul Chaudhari for the first six editions but never managed to seal a place in the final. The team then signed 'Bahubali' Siddharth Desai, who wreaked havoc with his sensational raids, but a lackluster supporting unit cost them in PKL 7.
Given his brilliant showing for the Titans in Season 7, the team exercised their Final Bid Match (FBM) card of ₹1.30 crore to sign Siddharth Desai back at the PKL Auction 2021.
Jagadeesh Kumble, who has been promoted as head coach for the Telugu Titans, retained six youngsters ahead of the auction. Rakesh Gowda was their only Elite Retained Player (ERP) while Rajnish and Ankit Beniwal were picked as Retained Young Players (RYP). Manish, Akash Choudhary and Aakash Dattu Arsul return to the side as the New Young Players (NYP).
Here's an in-depth look at the Telugu Titans squad for PKL Season 8 through a SWOT analysis:
SWOT analysis of Telugu Titans PKL 8 squad
The Telugu Titans have formed a solid offensive unit led by the sensational Siddharth Desai and flamboyant leader Rohit Kumar. While the team splurged an enormous amount on Siddharth, they managed to sign Rohit Kumar at the bargain price of ₹36 lakh.
Rohit, who led the Bengaluru Bulls to their maiden trophy in PKL 6, boasts immense experience under his belt with 670 raid points in his career. Moreover, Siddharth Desai has crossed 200 raid points in each of the two seasons he has played since his debut. Both Rohit and Siddharth will bring solidity to the offense of the Telugu Titans this season.
Sandeep Kandola's return adds power to the defense, as the Titans won't be hurt by the absence of their former left corner Vishal Bhardwaj. The 'Baby-faced assassin' played for them in PKL 2, when he won the 'Best debutant' award with 59 tackle points.
Kandola has been sensational in the domestic circuit as the top defender for Services in the 67th and 68th Senior National Kabaddi Championship. He has since added more defensive skills to his arsenal and will be a name to fear for opposition raiders next season.
The Telugu Titans have looked to balance the defense with a minimum of two defenders in each position. However, their defenders have blown hot and cold in the previous seasons.
The likes of C. Arun, Ruturaj Koravi and Surinder Singh haven't been entirely consistent when it comes to executing tackles with patience. Their current form in the sport might be a worrying sign for the Telugu Titans heading into PKL 8.
Another major concern for the Titans is not having a single all-rounder in their ranks. They signed eight raiders and 10 defenders but didn't go for an all-rounder at the PKL Auction 2021.
That could cost them in clinical situations when the team requires someone who can win matches with his ability to raid and defend at the same time. If anyone from the starting seven doesn't perform well, the team has nobody whom they can trust to bail them out of tough situations.
With Siddharth Desai and Rohit Kumar leading the offensive pack, the Telugu Titans will likely go for young prodigies in do-or-die raids. Youngsters Rakesh Gowda, Rajnish and Galla Raju can score raid points consistently. The upcoming season will present them with plenty of opportunities to make a statement.
The Titans have a chance to establish themselves as a PKL powerhouse in the upcoming edition. Rohit Kumar seems likely to captain the side in PKL 8, based on how he led the Bengaluru Bulls to the title in PKL 6.
Rohit is known for his calm and composed captaincy, and the players will be confident about expressing themselves and displaying their true potential in the eighth season.
Sandeep Kandola will return to the PKL after a gap of over six years. Although he has been sensational on the domestic circuit, how he'll fare over a long and fast PKL season remains to be seen.
The Telugu Titans splurged ₹59.50 lakh for the left corner defender in the PKL Auction 2021. That price tag will put Kandola's efficiency under the scanner this season.
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Their fresh defensive unit may take time to settle, with all of these players assembled to play as a unit for the first time. Coach Jagadeesh Kumble and the team management will certainly have a lot on their plates during the pre-season camps.
Check out the Pro Kabaddi schedule for season 8 here.