The season seven champions failed to qualify for the playoffs last season.
Bengal Warriors had a below-average season finishing in the eleventh spot with 53 points. The team failed to win a match in the last five matches ultimately costing them the playoffs spot. An experienced coach K. Baskaran was brought in as a replacement to BC Ramesh but the team couldn’t qualify for the playoffs of PKL 9. Bengal Warriors had a good start winning the initial matches with ease but the inefficiency of defence cost them badly.
The 32-year-old star raider once again put up a brilliant show scoring 240 points in 21 matches at an average of more than 11 raid points per match. He did not get the required support from his secondary raiders which kept him out of the mat for a long time throughout the league stages. Shrikant Jadhav played a good role but that wasn’t enough for the team to perform well and win consistently.
Jadhav performed his role to perfection scoring 129 points in 21 matches. For the past few seasons, he has been a dependable secondary raider ( UP Yoddhas and Bengal Warriors). On a broader note, the raider could have scored more points as an experienced player and taken up the role of primary raider when Maninder SIngh did not perform for a few matches.
Girish Maruti Ernak
The left-corner defender was the only player to score 50 plus tackle points scoring 51 points in 18 matches. He was the leading defender after the end of the first phase but lost momentum going forward and was also dropped for a few matches. Ernak also did not receive any support from other defenders hurting his own performance which could have been better.
Underperformer of the season
The star all-rounder could manage to score only 56 points in 17 matches which were way below his standards. Of the 56 points, 49 points were scored through raids and the rest nine through the defence. Overall he managed to score more than ten points in only two matches meaning the rest 30 to 35 points were scored in 15 matches at an average of only two points per match. Bengal Warriors had high hopes for the all-rounder showing full faith in him but the player failed to convert them into performance.
Manager’s report card
Coach K. Baskaran did not have a good season finishing eleventh. He was the head coach of Jaipur Pink Panthers who was the inaugural champions of the Pro Kabaddi League and much was expected from him in season 9. The coach could have made use of a few raiders after the dip of Deepak Hooda’s form but stuck on with him for a long time.
Lessons to be learned
Surender Nada in the ‘Bol Kabaddi Khel Kabaddi’ show on Khel Now Youtube Channel said that the management should not buy many players for just one position and make them sit for the entire league. Bengal Warriors had too many defensive options for one spot (left corner in particular) and also could have used different options in the tertiary raiding role.
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