Pro Kabaddi 2019: 3 retained players who are yet to make an impact this season

Teams could be regretting about the decision to retain these players ahead of the auctions
Teams could be regretting about the decision to retain these players ahead of the auctions

Pro Kabaddi 2019 is underway with almost all the teams still in the fray to make it to the playoffs. Currently contested in a double round-robin format, the top six teams after the completion of the league stage will make it the knockout stages.

While the top two teams will directly qualify for the semifinals, the other four teams will play in the eliminators to decide the other two semifinalists.

Apart from a few teams, most of the franchises follow a similar strategy of retaining the core of their squads before taking part in the auctions that take place before every season. These core members are usually the players who have done well for them in the past and can remain at the focal point of their plans for the new season.

If the retained players, especially from the elite category, do not live up to their expectations throughout a season, the balance of the teams is likely to be affected. Franchises will have to look at alternatives and in most cases, this could affect the team's progress. Although this is not the case with all the franchises, retained players who do not problem are still an issue for teams.

On that note, here are three players who were retained by their squads ahead of the season seven auctions but have failed to make an impact with their performances thus far.

#3 Kuldeep Singh (Haryana Steelers)

Kuldeep Singh has not contributed much to the Steelers' defense this season
Kuldeep Singh has not contributed much to the Steelers' defense this season

Kuldeep Singh was an integral part of the Haryana Steelers defense in season 6. The left corner defender picked up 49 points from 22 games despite the last season being just his second edition in the tournament and on the back of his positive show, was retained for season 7 by the Steelers.

Kuldeep has played just six games thus far and has picked just 6 points from the opportunities that he has received thus far, which have come through a total of 21 tackles, a figure he would not be proud of.

However, Haryana's defense has been doing well in his absence and for him to make a comeback into the squad could be a tough prospect.

#2 Ashish Kumar (Bengaluru Bulls)

Ashish Kumar (L)
Ashish Kumar (L)

Ashish Kumar has been a part of the Bengaluru Bulls unit since the second season of PKL. With an ability to contribute on the defensive and offensive scheme of things, Bulls' coach Randhir Singh has always preferred having Ashish in his team every season. Hence, after a good season 6 from which he picked up 45 points, the youngster was retained along with Rohit Kumar and Pawan Sehrawat by the Bulls ahead of this edition.

However, this season, the all-rounder has been in dismal form. His performances on that mat have not been inspiring and he has now fallen down the pecking order in the squad. Having played six games, Ashish has managed to accumulate just the five points, a stat which is worrying for a player retained from the Elite category.

Mohit Sehrawat has taken over Ashish's position in the starting 7 and with Sehrawat getting a good amount of backing from coach Randhir Singh, Ashish might just be counting his last days with the Bulls.

#1 Meraj Sheykh (Dabang Delhi)

Meraj Sheykh in action for Dabang Delhi
Meraj Sheykh in action for Dabang Delhi

Considered as one of the best all-rounders in the game, Meraj Sheykh was retained by Dabang Delhi ahead of the season seven auctions. Meraj's good performance in season six was on show as he amassed 97 points from the 19 games that he took part in.

However, this season has been disappointing for the veteran as he has contributed with just 16 points from 8 games so far. He has been in and out of the starting seven and has not been in the greatest of form. With the likes of Naveen and Chandran Ranjit excelling on the raiding front, Meraj has failed to impress.

Having said that, Meraj Sheykh is a class customer and he needs just a few good minutes on the mat to get back to his best and yet, it remains to see how much opportunities he gets over the next few games.

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Edited by Prasen Moudgal
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