Pro Kabaddi League Season 7, Team Preview: Tamil Thalaivas
VIVO Pro Kabaddi League Season 7 will start from 20th July 2019. The auction for Pro Kabaddi League got held in Mumbai where Telugu Titans purchased Siddharth Sirish Desai at the highest amount of ₹ 1.45 Crores.
Tamil Thalaivas was one out of four new teams introduced back in Season 5. This team got named as the underdogs of Season 5 led by Ajay Thakur as they defeated big teams back then. In Season 6, Tamil Thalaivas looked the strongest on paper, but failed to work as a unit.
For the upcoming PKL 7, Tamil Thalaivas retained Ajay Thakur, Manjeet Chhillar and Victor Onyango Obiero. They purchased players like Rahul Chaudhari, Ran Singh, Mohit Chhillar, Shabeer Bappu in the auctions.
Same like the past two seasons, Ajay Thakur will lead their raiding attack. He was phenomenal in Season 6 with scoring 203 raid points in 22 games as the captain leading from the front. However, he couldn't get enough support from the other end because of which Thalaivas have never made it to the playoffs.
Thalaivas spent an enormous ₹94 lakhs in purchasing The Raid Machine, Rahul Chaudhari who currently stands as the player with most total points in Pro Kabaddi history (876).
Season 7 will mark the first time when Rahul Chaudhari will be playing for another team than Telugu Titans and will get aligned with Ajay Thakur and Manjeet Chhillar.
Joining the offensive line-up is Shabeer Bappu whose triumphant comeback in Season 2 final led U Mumba to win the trophy.
Since then, he hasn't had performances beyond par as he has been in diminishing form. The upcoming season will mark an opportunity for him to shine with his do or die raiding skills.
Ajay Thakur scored approximately 48.44% raid points of the whole team in PKL 6. He got no support from his raiders. So now the Thalaivas have Rahul Chaudhari with them he can give much-needed support Ajay in PKL 7.
Taking into consideration, Rahul has scored more raid points in a do-or-die situation in last season. His consistency and versatility in raiding could be a relief for Thalaivas as the second raider.
Thalaivas could keep Shabeer Bappu as their third raider for crucial raids. He will have to make a quick impression to book his spot in the team.
Other than this, young players Anand, Yashwant Bishnoi, V Ajeet Kumar, and Vineet Kumar could get considered as the team's go-to man if both Ajay and Rahul fail to perform.
Tamil Thalaivas raiding success depends on how Ajay-Rahul duo carries the momentum. If they start to outclass the defence on their own, this duo is expected to be the best raiding duo of Season 7 just like what Pardeep Narwal and Monu Goyat were for Patna Pirates back in Season 5.
It can also be a worry for Thalaivas as there is no raider beyond the duo of Ajay-Rahul whom the management can bank on. Rahul Chaudhari can raid without pressure as he will get the support of a stable raider in Ajay Thakur. Apart from that, the offensive attack of Thalaivas looks empty if these two names are missing.
There are a total of seven defenders who will play for Thalaivas in PKL 7. They are Mohit Chhillar, Ajeet, M Abhishek, P Subramanian, Himanshu, Sagar, and Iranian Milad Sheibak.
The chain-tackle specialist, Mohit Chillar, got added to the squad at ₹45 lakhs. Mohit Chillar has been at the twilight of his career as he has not been able to carry the momentum as the tournament has progressed.
Mohit will have to up his game and forget his last year's performance (31 tackle points in 14 matches) if he wants to book a permanent spot in the team.
P Subramanian was good at his right cover position for Thalaivas last year. He'll continue to play for the same team this season.
The team spent a massive 31 lakhs for an unknown commodity in right cover defender Ajeeth who had a wonderful time at Khelo India Youth Games. M. Abhishek is also a right cover defender who could get tested mid-season.
PKL's best all-rounder, Manjeet Chhillar, will play at the left cover position. He has scored 220 raid and 302 tackle points from 93 matches. He is the only defender to score 300 tackle points in the league's history.
Former Bengal Warriors' team player Ran Singh has joined the Thalaivas team. He will secure Thalaiva's left corner. He has got 289 points from 99 matches. Hemant Chauhan and Victor Onyango Obiero are the other two all-rounders in the squad.
Much like last year, Tamil Thalaivas look like an experienced side on paper with the solid raiding duo and lethal defensive bedrock. Much like Chennai Super Kings of the IPL, Thalaivas have also signed senior players with immense experience from the past.
However, Kabaddi being a 40-minute physical sport requires fitness levels to remain high as Pro Kabaddi is a three month tournament. It would affect their defense more than offense as any injury or lack of form widens the gap in that position with no proper replacements.
Coach E. Bhaskaran will have to delegate the captaincy with full control to one senior player and have the team play their respective roles.
Manjeet Chhillar, Rahul Chaudhari, Ran Singh, and even Mohit Chhillar were captains with their former teams and too many opinions in a single frame would be a threat to Thalaivas' campaign in Season 7.
Tamil Thalaivas will need to keep a positive mindset with all players fulfilling their roles with consistent performances as the team looks to win their first ever Pro Kabaddi title.
Preferred Playing 7 for Tamil Thalaivas in Season 7
Mohit Chhillar (Right Corner), Rahul Chaudhari (Right In), Ajeet (Right Cover), Ajay Thakur (Center), Manjeet Chhillar (Left Cover), Shabeer Bappu (Left In) and Ran Singh (Left Corner).