Pro Kabaddi 2021: Ranking squads ahead of PKL 8

Bengaluru Bulls and UP Yoddha have assembled strong squads ahead of Pro Kabaddi 2021
Bengaluru Bulls and UP Yoddha have assembled strong squads ahead of Pro Kabaddi 2021
Vinay Chhabria

Pro Kabaddi 2021 will kick off at the Grand Sheraton Whitefield in Bengaluru on December 22. The season opener will feature home team Bengaluru Bulls and former champions U Mumba in a rematch of the second season's final.

The PKL is making a return after a two-year gap. The Bengal Warriors emerged as champions in 2019 by beating Dabang Delhi KC in the summit clash.

Fans should note that the squads of all 12 franchises have changed a lot ahead of Pro Kabaddi 2021. The teams participated in a player auction earlier this year, where they signed many big names.

Ahead of the start of PKL 8, here's a list ranking all 12 squads of the tournament as per their strengths.

#12 - U Mumba

Former Pro Kabaddi winners U Mumba returned from the PKL Auction 2021 with the highest purse value (₹63.30 lakh) after not bidding for the top stars.

They had retained Fazel Atrachali and Abhishek Singh before the auction, but apart from the duo, there is no other player in the final squad who can win matches for U Mumba consistently.

#11 - Telugu Titans

Like U Mumba, Telugu Titans rely majorly on two names - Rohit Kumar and Siddharth Desai. Surinder Singh and Sandeep Kandola's performances in the defensive unit will matter a lot.

The Telugu Titans have not qualified for the PKL playoffs in the last three seasons. It will be interesting to see if they can finish in the top 6 this year.

#10 Tamil Thalaivas

Tamil Thalaivas have finished bottom in all three seasons they have played so far. This year, they have reliable names like PO Surjeet Singh and K Prapanjan as well as Manjeet in the squad, each of whom could be valuable to the franchise.

The Thalaivas have a decent squad, but they lack experience in some departments and that could hurt the team's chances.

#9 Patna Pirates

Three-time champions Patna Pirates released their skipper Pardeep Narwal ahead of the Pro Kabaddi Auction 2021. They have stacked up their raid attack by signing Selvamani K, Prashanth Kumar Rai, Monu Goyat and Sachin, but their defense isn't equally strong.

Patna Pirates' defensive unit will determine how far the three-time champions reach in Pro Kabaddi 2021.

#8 Haryana Steelers

Haryana Steelers look a strong side on paper, but their right side of the defense is not so strong. Raiders such as Deepak Niwas Hooda and Pardeep Narwal could score heaps of raid points in that area.

The Steelers' chances depend majorly on their left-side defenders and raiders in Pro Kabaddi 2021.

#7 Jaipur Pink Panthers

Inaugural Pro Kabaddi League champions Jaipur Pink Panthers added stars like Arjun Deshwal and Dharmaraj Cheralathan to their squad. They have what it takes to make it to the playoffs, but they need to play with consistency.

Last season, Jaipur started their season with four consecutive victories but failed to finish in the top 6.

#6 Gujarat Giants

Gujarat Giants have assembled one of the strongest defensive units in Pro Kabaddi history for PKL 2021. They have a quartet of Ravinder Pahal, Girish Ernak, Sunil Kumar and Parvesh Bhainswal.

They lack a lead raider, and if one of the players can lead the attack well, Gujarat could go the distance in Pro Kabaddi 2021.

#5 Bengaluru Bulls

Former Pro Kabaddi League winners Bengaluru Bulls have added a lot of firepower to their raid attack, but their defense does not seem equally strong.

Bengaluru's raid attack featuring Pawan Kumar, Deepak Narwal, Chandran Ranjit and Dong Geon Lee has the capacity to win matches single-handedly. If their defense supports them, Bengaluru can win their second championship this season.

#4 Puneri Paltan

Puneri Paltan have formed a dream raiding duo of Rahul Chaudhari and Nitin Tomar along with a dream corner duo of Vishal Bhardwaj and Baldev Singh.

If their supporting players play their roles to perfection, Puneri Paltan can qualify for the maiden PKL final this year.

#3 UP Yoddha

Like Puneri Paltan, UP Yoddha have two game-changing raiders in Pardeep Narwal and Shrikant Jadhav as well as two corner defenders in Sumit and Nitesh Kumar.

The other players' performances will play an important role in determining if UP Yoddha can end their knockout jinx in Pro Kabaddi 2021.

#2 Dabang Delhi KC

Dabang Delhi KC have formed one of the strongest squads in Pro Kabaddi League history. They retained youngsters Naveen Kumar and Vijay and added experienced players like Jeeva Kumar, Ajay Thakur, Sandeep Narwal, Manjeet Chhillar and Joginder Narwal to the squad.

If the players manage to remain fit throughout the season, the Dabangs will be unstoppable in Pro Kabaddi 2021.

#1 Bengal Warriors

Defending champions Bengal Warriors have the most complete squad in Pro Kabaddi 2021 and have depth in both departments. Iranian all-rounder Mohammad Esmaeil Nabibakhsh adds a lot of balance to the squad.

The addition of Abozar Mighani and Rishank Devadiga has bolstered Bengal's strength ahead of Pro Kabaddi 2021. The chances of Bengal successfully retaining the trophy are very high.

Edited by Sudeshna Banerjee
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