PKL 9: How Patna Pirates changed their fortunes mid-season?
Based on the current form, the three-times champions are one of the favourites to play the play-offs.
Patna Pirates after a poor start to the season are on a six-match unbeaten streak winning five along with a tie in PKL 9 at the time of publishing. The three-time Pro Kabaddi League champions lost the season 8 finals in a close encounter. Ram Mehar Singh after a successful stint at Patna Pirates moved away to Gujarat Giants. The franchise then appointed the last season (8) assistant coach of Puneri Paltan Ravi Shetty who has coached several teams in the past.
After languishing at the bottom of the points table Patna Pirates rose back to form at the end of the Bengaluru leg and have been on a roll to date. In this article let us discuss the reasons for the change of fortunes for the Patna Pirates.
Defence starting to pick up points
One primary reason is the change of captainship from experienced cover defender Neeraj to Chiyaneah. Chiyaneah was the top defender in season 8 and was retained by the franchise in PKL 9 as well. Iranian players couldn’t make it to India on time but as soon as the corner defender started playing the team got together well. The defender presently features in the top 10 tackle points list even after missing out on initial matches. The captain is able to boost team morale through his performance which Neeraj couldn’t do as he was inconsistent.
The right and left corner combo has worked out well (Sunil – Chiyaneah). Sunil in recent times has been scoring points consistently and is inside the top 10 in the tackle points list.
Raiders finding their groove
Sachin Tawar scored only one super ten in the first seven matches but in the last four matches, the star raider has scored four successive super 10s and is the only consistent performing raider from the franchise currently.
Rohit Gulia was the supporting raider to Sachin and scored to the best of his ability. In the absence of Sachin, the secondary raider took over the responsibility and scored two super 10s. Both the primary and secondary raiders have to combine together and work in combo but presently Gulia is injured and needs to get back to the mat.
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Scopes for improvements
As mentioned earlier Rohit Gulia was not present in the playing 7 for the past two matches due to injury and was replaced by Anuj Kumar as the secondary raider. Anuj being relatively inexperienced hasn’t performed well and needs to up the ante. Mohit Goyat with more experience needs to take up more responsibility and perform better.
Neeraj Kumar the experienced cover defender was the captain before the start of the season but after a few matches had to give it over to Chiyaneah. He has scored 19 tackle points overall but has not been consistent throughout the first half of season 9. Having represented the franchise before he needs to take up additional responsibility in the defence.