Pro Kabaddi League 2016: Puneri Paltan season preview
Puneri Paltan are back in action as they make their bow in the Season Three of the Star Sports Pro Kabaddi later today against home side Telugu Titans in Vishakhapattanam. The Paltan endured two seasons to forget having finished at the bottom spot in each of the two campaigns so far. But the Marathas are the most dangerous when wounded and Ashok Shinde’s men will be hungrier than ever to put in a good show this time around.
The Maratha Warriors are ready to show their pedigree and a revamped outfit could finally see them compete at the top end of the table. Coach Ashok Shinde deserves a lot of credit for turning around the Puneri Paltan side and bringing in the very best in the league to the Pune camp. The Paltan were a defensive catastrophe in the previous season and Ashok Shinde has all but addressed that problem.
Wazir Singh left the Puneri Paltan to join Dabang Delhi and Shinde had a huge void to fill, But he pulled out a real coup and signed Manjeet Chhillar who was the most valuable player in Season Two. Chhillar who proved last season what a good leader he is on the pitch seems to be an upgrade over Wazir Singh on that front. The Paltan also roped in Chhillar’s Bengaluru Bulls team-mates Ajay Thakur and Somvir Shekhar to add more strength to the Puneri Paltan side. Yet another signing from the top drawer was the capture of Deepak Niwas Hooda from the Telugu Titans who collected a total of 81 points last season through his all-round efforts. Shinde also retained some of last season’s top performers in Ravi Kumar and Yogesh Hooda.
The Paltan have an extremely balanced squad and the quality is present everywhere in the ranks. There is no shortage of leaders in the team with Chhillar and Ajay Thakur.
There are fewer names in Indian Kabaddi that have a greater pedigree associated than the Puneri Paltan Coach Ashok Shinde. The Arjuna Awardee was a great player in his time and also a top notch coach. Shinde couldn’t weave his magic in his first season in-charge last year, but to be fair to him, he didn’t have the team to achieve great success. But the Paltan now possess a great squad and Coach Ashok Shinde has played a great part in assembling this team together. So Shinde’s work can only be fairly judged at the end of this season.
How far can they reach?
If previous year’s performances are anything go by, the Puneri Paltan would do great getting off the bottom spot, but with the team that they have managed to forge together, anything less than a semi-final appearance would be considered a failure for Ashok Shinde’s men.The Puneri Paltan may not be the favourites for the Pro Kabaddi crown, but the ultimate prize is certainly not beyond them by any stretch of imagination. It would be fair to call Puneri Paltan dark horses for the Pro Kabaddi League title this season.