Pro Kabaddi 2019: Team Analysis of Haryana Steelers
Haryana Steelers impressed the Kabaddi fans with their fantastic performance in the fifth season of the VIVO Pro Kabaddi League. The Steelers were one of the four debutants who joined the league in season five and made it to the playoffs in their debut season.
The season five finish prompted the team management to try something special in season six. They roped in Monu Goyat for a record price of ₹1.51 Crores in the auction with the aim of securing the trophy. However, their plan backfired as Monu failed to deliver under the pressure of his price tag. An untimely injury to Surender Nada added to Haryana's woes as the Sonipat-based franchise crashed out in the league stage.
Ahead of the season seven auction of PKL, Haryana Steelers retained young talent Vikash Khandola and experienced all-rounder Kuldeep Singh. They released all other players and built a fresh team.
How did the Haryana Steelers fare in the auctions?
Haryana bought back their season 5 star, Prashanth Kumar Rai for a price of ₹77 lakhs in the auction. With Rai set to don the role of the lead raider, he will also have Vikash Khandola and the lanky Selvamani K for playing the role of supporting raiders.
Shifting the focus to the defense of Haryana, the Steelers recruited the services of Dharmaraj Cheralathan and Vikas Kale, two big names who have made a positive impact in the past. They also have new young player Subash in the defense department.
The Sonipat-based franchise has a bit foreign flavor in the all-rounders section. The likes of Tim Phonchoo and Amir Maleki will join Kuldeep as the team's all-rounders.
What could be some problems Haryana Steelers might face?
Haryana Steelers have a relatively inexperienced squad on paper. While the Steelers do have the likes of Prashant Rai and Vikash Khandola in their roster, the duo have not proved to be match-winners on a consistent basis and this could be a matter of concern.
Players to watch out for
Dharmaraj Cheralathan - The veteran defender has been one of the best defenders in the league and with an ability to float around in the defensive unit, Cheralathan will hold the key on the defensive front. Cheralathan has 256 tackle points from 99 matches and with 40 points from 22 games last season, the ace defender could well captain the side as well.
Prashant Kumar Rai - The lanky raider has been a consistent player as a secondary raider and will be given the onus of leading the Steelers' raiding unit. Rai had a top season with UP Yoddha in season 6 as he picked up 147 points from 21 matches and will need to form a strong alliance with Vikash Khandola.
Haryana Steelers full squad for Pro Kabaddi 2019-
Raiders: Prashant Kumar Rai, Vikash Kandola, Selvamani K, Arun Kumar HN, Naveen, Amirhossein Maleki, Vikas Chhillar, Vinay.
All-rounders: Tin Ponchoo, Kuldeep Singh.
Defenders: Dharmaraj Cheralathan, Ravi Kumar, Vikas Kale, Sunil, Parveen, Subhash Narwal, Vikram Kandola, Chand Singh.
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