'Khiladi' Akshay Kumar might be in charge of the team now but there is nothing 'khiladi' like that the Bengal Warriors team have achieved in the first four seasons of the Pro Kabaddi league. Barring their third season semi finals finish, the team has more or less competed with the franchise from Delhi to end up as the whipping boys of the tournament.
South Korean Jang Kun Lee has been the one consistent stand out performer for the team while players like Nitin Madane, Girish Ernak and Monu Goyat prospered only in patches and, in the process, did not help the team's cause at all. The team got a golden chance to undo all of that at the auctions ahead of the fifth season but blew it away. The team composition post the cacophony of the auctions resembles a B team of a more successful team like U Mumba or Patna Pirates.
There are just a couple of names with the experience of more than 50 games in the league, one of them being the retained star Jang Kun Lee and other being a star of the first season whose prowess is under scanner owing to lacklustre performances in the last couple of seasons.
In such a scenario, the fans won't be expecting much but a slightly improved performance than the wooden spoon finish of the previous season. Here are the five names who'll have to shoulder the burden for the team to end the season at a respectable position in the final league standings
#1 Jang Kun Lee
There are a number of 'what ifs' in sports that have often made for good pub debates and discussions. What if Zidane hadn't copped that Red Card in the 2006 final? What if Herschelle Gibbs had not dropped that catch of Steve Waugh against Australia in the 1999 World Cup? What if Dhyanchand accepted Hitler's offer to play for Germany?
With the Bengal franchise holding on to Jang Kun Lee for the fifth season, the next 'what if' that will soon get added to the list, it seems, is what if Jang Kun Lee played for a franchise other than Bengal Warriors in the Pro Kabaddi League. Well, we can only imagine.
Lee is undoubtedly one of the better raiders the league has ever seen. There are few players to match his speed and when he unleashes that scorpion kick, he is vicious, to say the least.
The fact that the Korean averages less than 5 raid points over 51 games owes much to his lack of experience and over-excitement that often gets the better of him. But when he is on song, he can single handedly decide the fate of matches. He has done that time and again for the Warriors and the management would want him to stay as far as possible from injuries this season and do it on a more consistent basis for the team.