Ram Mehar Singh could not show magic with his new team.
Gujarat Giants finished PKL season 9 in the eighth position and overall had a below-average season compared to their previous performances. Gujarat completely revamped their side by changing their coach and replacing at maximum all the players. Injuries to a few players throughout the season hurt the side badly and also the ineffectiveness of defence was the major reason for their poor finish. In the end, the team fought bravely winning all their encounters but wasn’t enough to qualify for the playoff.
The tall lanky youngster performed above expectations scoring 183 points in 19 matches and is also the top raider for the team in his debut season. He was well supported by all the secondary raiders like Chandran Ranjit, Sonu, and Dong Geon Lee. Parteek could have easily gone past the 200 points mark but a small injury in the middle made him sit out for a few matches.
Mahendra Ganesh Rajput
Mahendra Ganesh Rajput fondly called MGR was the crisis man for Gujarat Giants and was the most valuable substitute in the season. He scored a super 10 after being substituted in the middle but wasn’t made to start in the 22 matches played. Although Rajput only scored 54 points overall the impact he made in the limited time stood out.
Rakesh started the season on an excellent not scoring super 10s for fun and it was difficult for opposition teams to stop him at one point of time. A small dip in form and an injury completely turned out of favour and the player did not turn up after the mid-season. Overall the star raider scored 133 points in 17 matches with more than 90 per cent of the points coming in the first 12 matches.
Underperformer of the season
The youngster did not have a good debut season scoring 25 points in 20 matches at an average of one point per match. At the start of the tournament, he was opined by many as the youngster to watch out for but did not live up to the expectations after being given many opportunities. The all-rounders’ tackle strike is close to 30 per cent which is also among the lowest in season 9 amongst the players who have played more than 15 matches.
Manager’s report card
Ram Mehar Singh overall has done a decent job with the resources he had throughout the season. Too many players were getting injured which did not allow the coach to go in with the same starting 7 on a consistent basis. The defenders in particular were the reason for the Gujarat Giants losing crucial matches hurting their chance of qualifying for the playoffs.
Lessons to be learned
The management at the auctions should have brought in an experienced defender who performed well in season 8 but they failed to do so. None of the defenders had good form (Baldev, Rinku, and Sandeep Kandola). The youngsters found it extremely tough to perform and due to lack of experience gifted away tackle points. Had they brought a good defender at the auctions (ex: Atrachali) he would have handled the defence single-handedly which seemed to be missing.
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