Star Sports Pro Kabaddi League 2016: SWOT analysis of Puneri Paltan
The team will be banking on their skipper Manjeet Chhillar to lead them to their 1st ever finals.
Star Sports Pro Kabaddi is back with its 4th season in the last 24 months and this time, it promises to be better, bigger and more entertaining than ever with players from 12 different nationalities ready to battle it out in 7 different cities across the country.
Pune was supposed to host the opening leg of the month-long tournament but as per the latest developments, Puneri Paltan’s home matches have been shifted to Mumbai due to some rally featuring the Indian Prime Minister.
The Pune-based franchise’s management has done an incredible job in assembling an almost perfect team for the upcoming season, as they have an experienced starter at every position on the mat. They would be hopeful to better last season’s 3rd place finish in the Star Sports Pro Kabaddi League as we analyse their squad for the upcoming season.
Perfect Team Balance
Puneri Paltan can be easily considered as the strongest team on paper with the addition of a number of star players to their squad at the recently concluded Star Sports Pro Kabaddi auctions in Mumbai. They are led by season two’s Most Valuable Player in Manjeet Chhillar – who led them to a 3rd place finish in the last season of Pro Kabaddi.
The addition of star raiders like Sonu Narwal (55 raid points last season) and Nitin Tomar (68 raid points last season) have bolstered the raiding department of the Paltans while the inclusion of Joginder Narwal will give the much-needed support to Chihllar at the defensive side of the game.
Their inspiring skipper Manjeet Chhillar accumulated a mammoth total of 101 points (56 tackle points and 45 raid points) in season 3 and was subsequently retained by the Pune-based franchise with their star raider Deepak Niwas Hudda (62 raid points last season) as the only other player to be retained. Chhillar has had an outstanding PKL career so far, both defensively and offensively, and would be hopeful to continue his dream run at the big stage.
Ravinder Pahal – A weak link?
After what turned out to be a horrid 3rd season for star defender Ravinder Pahal in the Dabang outfit, the 25-year-old defender will be hopeful of a better show in his new colours. The Sonepat-based defender accumulated a mammoth total of 53 successful tackles in the season 2 of Star Sports Pro Kabaddi while only managed to get 22 successful tackles in the last season. Every other team in the PKL is aware of Pahal’s inconsistency over the previous seasons and are in doubt over which Ravinder Pahal will show up for the season 4 of Star Sports Pro Kabaddi.
As per the latest developments, Pune will not host any of the matches due to a rally featuring Narinder Modi and this can be a significant disadvantage for the franchise.
1st final on the cards?
A place in the finals of the Pro Kabaddi has always eluded the Pune-based franchise, however, they almost made it through last season, losing their semi-final clash 21-40 to the eventual champions Patna Pirates and finished 3rd by winning their 3rd place playoff against Bengal Warriors in a closely contested game.
This time around, with the number of quality players in the squad, the Puneri Paltan fans would be more than hopeful to reach their 1st ever PKL final.
Being the best team on paper comes with its share of challenges as every other franchise would come fully prepared ahead of their encounter. Even for the Paltan squad that feeling of being the invincibles can be the sole reason for their downfall.
In the current squad, they have an experienced starter at every position on the mat, the only thing yet to be seen is how well they would coordinate in the coming season.
Star Sports Pro Kabaddi will reach out to over 114 territories including USA, UK, Sub-Saharan Africa, Middle East, North Africa and New Zealand with an expected growth in viewership as well. Season 3 saw an almost 36% increase in viewership over Season 2 and Season 4 will help Kabaddi in becoming India’s fastest growing and second most viewed sport.