Pro Kabaddi League 2019 Team Preview: Puneri Paltan
VIVO Pro Kabaddi League Season 7 will start from 19th July 2019. In the recently held auction of Season 7, Siddharth Desai became the most expensive player at ₹1.45 crores, sold to Telugu Titans. For Puneri Paltan, Nitin Tomar became the most expensive buy at ₹1.20 crores.
Puneri Paltan have never won a Pro Kabaddi title for the past six seasons, Patna Pirates have knocked Puneri Paltan in Season 3, Season 4 and Season 5 consecutively. And in season 1, season 2 and season 6 they did not make into the playoffs.
Puneri Paltan decided to go through a major rehaul this season. Ahead of the auctions, they ecided not to retain any player for the upcoming season and further appointed former Indian Kabaddi team captain Anup Kumar as their coach. With a new coaching team and a newly designed team logo, the team management did their best to build a strong team.
Puneri Paltan has charged its raiding department with having Nitin Tomar, Manjeet, Darshan Kadian, Pawan Kumar Kadian, Amit Kumar and Emad Sedaghat Nia in the squad. Nitin Tomar has 377 raid points from 53 matches. He will lead their raiding attack.
While the team management could expect a top performance by Nitin Tomar, their expectations will also be the same for the Services player, Manjeet Dahiya who had a brilliant debut season with the Pirates. Along with him, former U Mumba player Darshan Kadian will also be looking to support the team in the do or die raids.
The best raider for Jaipur Pink Panthers in Season 5, Pawan Kadian could also be another useful raider in the offensive mix. Amit Kumar and Iran's Emad Sedaghatnia have also joined the offensive lineup of Puneri Paltan.
Lead raider Nitin Tomar's fitness will be crucial for the Paltan. In the last season, he was in terrific form. However, after eight matches Nitin's absence due to injury cost Puneri Paltan their chances of qualifications. This year, Puneri Paltan have lined up some young and agile raiders who can give consistent performances in a 3-month long tournament like Pro Kabaddi.
There are a total of seven defenders in the team. Girish Ernak, PO Surjeet Singh, Satpal, Jadhav Shahaji, Deepak Yadav, Shubham Shinde, and the Iranian Hadi Tajik will be the defensive line-up in this season. Girish Ernak was a steal to the Paltan's squad as they acquired him at a mere ₹33 lakhs by using the FBM card.
PO Surjeet Singh will lead the defense in the presence of Girish Ernak. This pair of right cover and left corner could become one of the most lethal combinations of Season 7 considering the experience they have in Pro Kabaddi.
The biggest worry for Puneri Paltan could be the lack of proper replacements for the left side of the defense. While it is unknown about how Jadhav Balasaheb could play his debut season, Girish Ernak will have to play all the matches of the league stage as well. An injury or loss in form for Girish can prove to be costly as they will have Sagar Krishna as a replacement.
This season could turn into an opportunity for Shubham Shinde and Jadhav Balasaheb if they can perform well in the initial stages of the tournament. Also, Manjeet Dahiya will have to play as a supportive raider instead of raiding in the crucial situations considering how Pune has spent a whopping ₹63 lakhs.
Nitin Tomar, Surjeet Singh, and Manjeet Dahiya have played from the Services' board in the Nationals which proves their strength in the raiding and defensive department. Sagar Krishna, Amit Kumar, and Sandeep are the all-rounders for the team who could get used in the latter part of the tournament.
Puneri Paltan on paper looks a consistent side with the mix of youth and experience as well as dependable substitutions. Pune could perhaps win their maiden title in Season 7 as they have a variety of raiding options along with a formidable defense.
Preferred Playing 7 for Puneri Paltan in Season 7:
Shubham Shinde (Right Corner), Darshan Kadian (Right In), PO Surjeet Singh (Right Cover), Nitin Tomar (Center), J Shahaji (Left Cover), Manjeet (Left In) and Girish Ernak (Left Corner).