Pro Kabaddi 2016 Season 4: Analysing the teams' transfer activity ahead of Season 4
Star Sports Pro Kabaddi is set to take the country by storm once again with the fourth edition of the tournament set to begin on 25 June in Mumbai. Last season, Patna Pirates emerged victorious, edging past U Mumba in the final. However, ahead of Season 4, an auction took place which completely revamped each team. Teams were allowed to retain only 2 players each as the rest of the players went into the auction pool.
At the end of the auction, each team bears a completely new look, something that adds to the competitiveness of the league. Let's take a look at the teams' transfer activity:
The Paltans didn’t enjoy a great start to Star Sports Pro Kabaddi by any means. But, their star has been on the rise and last season’s performance is testament to that as Pune finished third in the league, their best ever performance till date. They will be looking to continue on this upward trajectory in Season 4.
They’ve made some shrewd signings this season, but most importantly they’ve retained two of their most effective players that led them to a semi-final spot last time around. In Manjeet Chhillar and Deepak Niwas Hooda, Pune have arguably two of the most versatile players in the league.
While Manjeet’s exploits have been in the limelight for all to see, Hooda, on the other hand, has slowly, but steadily proved himself as a match-winner. In the 41 matches he’s played, the 22-year-old has amassed 216 raid points and also made 41 successful tackles in the process.
But, their most important transfer by far is former Dabang Delhi captain Ravinder Pahal. The defender has made a mind-boggling 104 successful tackles in just 34 games. He had a sub-par outing in Season 3 and will be raring to go this time around. With Pahal, they also brought in Bengaluru Bulls' Season 2 stalwart Joginder Narwal to shore up their defence even further. Possible finalists? They definitely have the ammunition to go far.
The hallmark of a great side lies in how they react to success and complement it with even more wins. The Pirates have left no stone unturned to ensure they remain a competitive team in Season 4, post their title-winning exploits in Season 3. They retained the services of youngster and last season's best raider, Pardeep Narwal, along with the highly experienced, Rajesh Mondal. The latter continues to be one of the most effective do or die specialists in the league.
More importantly, Patna have managed to shore up their defence with some immaculate signings. Former U Mumba bulldozer, Fazel Atrachali joins the Pirates on the back of a stellar season 3 performance. The Iranian made an average of three successful tackles per match and almost all of them came when his team had their backs against the walls.
The Pirates have also roped in former Bengal Warriors defender, Bajirao Hodage - the quintessential team player that Patna will rely on in dire situations. Lastly, with Dharmaraj Cheralathan on board, the defending champions have an able leader to keep them calm in tense situations. The veteran continues to prove that age is merely a number and with the captain's armband this time, the onus will be on him to lead his team to further success.
When the Warriors made the semi-finals last time, they managed to draw quite a few eyeballs. Ahead of the tournament, nobody expected them to qualify for the knockout stage, but they defied all odds to make their maiden appearance in the semis, where their inexperience proved costly and they were eventually found wanting. With the signings they've made this time around, they are surely in the running for the semis spot, if not for the title.
They wisely picked up Korean Jang Kun Lee and raider Mahendra Rajput in the auction - two of their most effective raiders till date. The former is a crowd favourite and the latter has been a towering menace for opposition teams with his reach and flexibility. Captain Nilesh Shinde was retained keeping in mind his unflappable approach to the game. The Warriors also snapped up former Bulls raider, Surjeet Narwal, who had a sensational first season with Dabang Delhi. Despite playing only 26 matches in the league, he’s amassed 153 raid points.
However, the most astute signing made by them ahead of Season 4 has been former U Mumba star, Vishal Mane. The Maharashtrian will play in the blue jersey this year and provide some much needed defensive stability to this Warriors side. His ability to read the game is second to none. While he can be a bit impulsive at times, he makes up for it by producing some immaculate team tackles.
Bengal look a more balanced side this time around and will aim to go one step further.
The Titans have been extremely unlucky over the past three seasons. When it matters the most, they’ve succumbed to pressure owing to an extremely young side. Captain Rahul Chaudari’s retention was a no brainer and alongside Sukesh Hegde, they form, arguably, the most potent raiding partnership in the tournament.
If that wasn’t enough to prove their quality, they managed to snap up Sandeep Narwal, one of the best all-rounders in the league. The 23-year-old has been one of the finds of the tournament and is known to mould his game based on the team's needs. A bustling raider earlier in his career, he was a defensive rock for the Pirates during their title-winning season. Sandeep has secured 119 defence points in forty-six matches and added 147 raid points as well in this process.
With Sandeep Dhull and Jasmer Singh Gulia in their ranks as well, the team seems well balanced defensively and if their raiders manage to fire, there is no doubt that they will be the team to beat this season.