UP Yoddha created history at the PKL Auction 2021 when they signed Pardeep Narwal for a mammoth price of ₹1.65 crore. The winning bid added another feather to the hat of the 'Record Breaker', making him the costliest player in PKL auction history.
The UP Yoddha management were so adamant about getting their man that they increased their own bid from ₹1.6 crore to 1.65 crore. Perhaps it was a strategy to deter the Patna Pirates from using their Final Bid Match (FBM) card in order to retain their superstar raider.
They also managed to retain Shrikant Jadhav using their own FBM card to provide a solid raiding partner for Pardeep.
On that note, we take a closer look at the UP Yoddha squad post PKL Auction 2021.
SWOT Analysis of UP Yoddha PKL Season 8 Squad
UP Yoddha had their defensive priorities set before going into the PKL Auction 2021. They retained their stellar corner defensive duo - Nitesh Kumar and Sumit Sangwan. The pair were responsible for more than 150 tackle points in PKL Season 7 with Sumit Sangwan's 77 and Nitesh Kumar's 75 points.
To add to their defensive solidity, they managed to form a solid raiding unit that would be led by the indomitable Pardeep Narwal and Shrikant Jadhav. The two young raiders can easily combine for a total of around 450 raid points for the Yoddhas in PKL Season 8.
Despite having a strong attacking as well as defensive core in their starting lineup, the UP Yoddha seem to lack in squad depth. Pardeep Narwal and Shrikant Jadhav will be doing the lion's share of raiding for them in Season 8.
The cover defense position could also prove to be another cause of concern for the UP Yoddha this season. They have two strong corners in their lineup but will hope that their defense can back them up with stable performances.
Head coach Jasvir Singh has always managed to unleash new talent every season for UP Yoddha with the likes of Nitesh Kumar, Sumit Sangwan and Surender Gill. The defensive duo of Nitesh and Sumit have proven themselves in the Pro Kabaddi League and will aim to keep their consistency going in PKL Season 8.
A new-look raiding unit would be highly advantageous for them due to the plethora of points that Pardeep Narwal brings to the mat. Shrikant Jadhav is a very balanced raider with the right mix of speed and strength.
Whenever a team manages to sign a star man like Pardeep Narwal, it brings a lot of expectations considering that he led the Patna Pirates to three consecutive PKL titles. Despite his numbers being solid and consistent, his offensive impact on the mat has somewhat waned in the last two PKL seasons.
The lack of depth in the squad and unproven young players can prove to be detrimental to the team's chances, considering the long and fast PKL season. In unfortunate scenarios of injury to any of their top players, the UP Yoddha could have a tough time performing at their optimum level in the league.