This was Panthers’ second consecutive loss in PKL 9.

Jaipur Pink Panthers lost the first match of the Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) 9 Pune leg to Tamil Thalaivas (38-27) by an 11-point margin. The Panthers were on the backfoot and never got control over the match. Arjun Deshwal their primary raider’s absence was likely one of the primary reasons for Jaipur’s loss.

Following the match, Jaipur assistant coach, Upendra Kumar iterated that “Arjun was not fully fit to take part in the game but due to the poor performance, the team was forced to send him inside as a substitute”.

Mohit Chillar, Rohit Baliyan, and Pritam Chillar in the Bol Kabaddi Khel Kabaddi show said that “they were confused as to why Arjun Deshwal was substituted if he was injured. Either Arjun Deshwal should have played the whole match. Or he shouldn’t have taken the risk of playing with an injury.”

It was a surprise for the experts as to why Arjun Deshwal did not make it to the starting 7 despite the team depending on him heavily. Arjun’s absence put a huge question mark on the performance of Ajith Kumar and Rahul Chaudhari.

Watch Preetam Chhillar, Mohit Chhillar & Rohit Baliyan discuss Jaipur Punk Panthers’ performance

Watch: Experts question Jaipur Pink Panthers’ approach against Tamil Thalaivas and decision to bench star raider Arjun Deshwal (38:00-46:00)

Jaipur were trailing by 12 points when Arjun was substituted in the 10th minute of the first half. The lead was very high even for Arjun to beat, with the momentum totally in Tamil Thalaivas’ favour. Also, Arjun, playing with a slight injury, needed some time to score points.

After a poor first half, Arjun came back to his usual form scoring nine points in 12 raids. However, that wasn’t sufficient for Jaipur as they succumbed to a 27-38 defeat.

Ajit Kumar, bought for a whopping 66 lakhs, as a supporting raider has not been at his best in PKL season 9. Rahul Chaudhari, on the other hand, made a good start to the season performing well at the Senior Nationals and the National Games. However, he hasn’t been able to replicate the same in PKL 9. The showman scored valuable points in the last few matches, but needs to score more points to get more confidence.

Mahendra Ganesh Rajput scored four points and is primarily a substitute. Coach Sanjeev Baliyan needs to address the raiding issue as soon as possible and get back to winning ways.

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