The most expensive signing of the league has missed the first third of the tournament due to a knee injury.

Tamil Thalaivas has started PKL season 9 on a poor note losing four out of the six encounters in the first leg of the Pro Kabaddi league. Pawan Sehrawat the star raider was brought for ₹ 2.26 crores which is half the purse Tamil Thalaivas had but unfortunately he got injured after scoring just one point. After the end of six matches, Tamil Thalaivas are placed in the 11th spot with ten points just ahead of Telugu Titans.  

J Udhay Kumar due to a personal emergency exited as the coach and is replaced by Dronacharya awardee Ashan Kumar who will have his task cut out from the start of the Pune leg.

Results in PKL 9 Bengaluru Leg:

  • Match 1: Gujarat Giants 31 – 31 Tamil Thalaivas
  • Match 2: Haryana Steelers 27 – 22 Tamil Thalaivas
  • Match 3: U Mumba 39 – 32 Tamil Thalaivas
  • Match 4: Tamil Thalaivas 33 – 32 Patna Pirates
  • Match 5: Bengaluru Bulls 45 – 28 Tamil Thalaivas
  • Match 6: UP Yoddhas 41 – 24 Tamil Thalaivas  

Positives

Young raiders like Narender Kandola and Himanshu have shown good promise in the initial matches and look set to continue the same going forward.

Defence

Sagar the stand-in captain after a poor start to the season has shown great improvement scoring one high-five. In the six matches, Sagar has scored 13 tackle points. Along with Sagar Sahil Gulia, the left-corner defender has scored 16 points and is in the top 10 of the tackles list. The unsuccessful tackle rate for Sahil is more which he needs to reduce ahead of the Pune leg.

Negatives

Tamil Thalaivas raiders have lacked aggressiveness since the start of the season. In the last season, the team had six ties under them which were the most among all the 12 teams. This season too, the team has stayed back in crucial situations with the raiders mainly relying on do-or-die raids at the fag end of the match. Most of the time it was like the team was happy with one point and not looking for a win.

Top Performer

Narender Kandola is the standout performer scoring 48 points in six matches having scored eight points per match. Playing the maiden season in the Pro Kabaddi League, Narender scored a super 10 in his debut match against Gujarat Giants. Pawan Sehrawat had high hopes for the youngster sending him to raid from the start of the match. Narender was put under more pressure after Pawan Sehrawat injured himself inside the first seven minutes. But he carried on and scored a super 10. Narender Kandola will be the primary raider till Pawan Sehrawat comes back from injury.

Under Performer

Ajinkya Pawar is having a terrible season. He has scored only six points in the five matches played so far. In season 8 he was one of the star raiders for Tamil Thalaivas having scored 108 points in 18 matches. He wasn’t considered in the initial matches. But after getting a chance as a substitute, he proved his mettle by becoming the do-or-die specialist.

Tamil Thalaivas retained Ajinkya Pawar in PKL season 9 for the heroics in Pro Kabaddi season 8. After the injury to Pawan Sehrawat he should have taken the responsibility of being the lead raider having the experience of playing for multiple PKL teams in the past but failing to score causing more problems. The youngsters who do not even have half the experience Ajinkya possess are performing well. With Ashan Kumar taking over it should be seen whether the new coach can make the most of Ajinkya by improving his techniques and skills. 

What to expect?

Like the previous seasons Tamil Thalaivas this time too has got off to a poor start but still has 16 matches to play for. Both the raiding and defence have looked good in patches but both departments need to support each other simultaneously to provide a positive result. The team has many young and skilled raiders. But they do not have enough experience to tackle pressure. And so the youngsters need to be given more time to prove themselves.

Ashan Kumar will be the fourth coach for Tamil Thalaivas and will look to become the first coach to secure a playoff spot. All the teams except Tamil Thalaivas have at least once qualified for their playoffs and getting to the top six will be a huge boost for the southern franchise.

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