Pro Kabaddi League 2018: U.P. Yoddha's roller-coaster journey to the playoffs
Introduction to PKL
The U.P. Yoddha was one of the four new teams added to Pro Kabaddi League in 2017, with the other three being Gujarat Fortune Giants, Haryana Steelers, and the Tamil Thalaivas.
U.P. Yoddha's performance in Pro Kabaddi League 2017:
These new teams created an upheaval in the competition as 3 of them - Gujarat Fortune Giants, Haryana Steelers, and U.P.Yoddha made it to the playoffs the last season.
The Yoddhas, as they are popularly known as, had one of the strongest raiding units with two of its raiders featuring in the Top-10 list of Most Raid points scored - Nitin Tomar with 167 points, and Rishank Devadiga with 165 points.
Their defense, on the other hand, had a poor run in 2017 as well as they had an average tackle point rate of just 8.74 in the competition. And the poor performance of their defense (8 tackle points) led to their defeat (38-40) in Eliminator-1 of the playoffs at the hands of the Puneri Paltan. They finished 6th in the season.
Just before the auctions, the Yoddhas' management announced a new head coach, Jasveer Singh who came on to replace J.Udaya Kumar.
Come to the auctions, while the Yoddhas lost Nitin Tomar to the Puneri Paltan, they got back Rishank Devadiga at an astounding price of ₹1.1 crores and bolstered their attack with the inclusion of Shrikant Jadhav (₹37 lakhs) and Prashanth Kumar Rai (₹79 lakhs).
While in their defense, which was a major problem area for them, they got back Jeeva Kumar (₹45 lakhs), Nitesh Kumar (₹6.6 lakhs), and Sagar B Krishna (₹13.2 lakhs), and further added Narender (₹8 lakhs) and Sachin Kumar (₹19.2 lakhs) to hope for a better performance in the 2018 season.