The season 2 champions had very young squad last season.
U Mumba did not have a good ending to PKL season 9 and finished below the playoffs spot in the ninth position. They started the season on a bright note but the injury to captain Surinder Singh turned the table upside down losing crucial matches. The team could have qualified for the playoffs had it won the last few matches instead lost four out of the last five matches thereby finishing the season with 56 points.
The right-corner defender scored 59 points in 19 matches at an average of three points per match. After Surender Singh’s injury, Rinku was given additional responsibility as the captain and became the youngest to lead a side in the Pro Kabaddi League. Although he did not have a good time captaining the side rather the overall performance was excellent.
The cover defender was chosen as the captain and the led the U Mumba side exceptionally well. Surinder Singh did not have a good time for the past two seasons but in season 9 he was the most experienced defender and the additional responsibility of captaining the side brought out the best in him. He was often known for indulging in advanced and unsuccessful tackles but this time he defended at crucial times scoring 36 points in 12 matches.
The all-rounder had a good season initially starting as a tertiary raider but when Guman Singh got injured in the mid-season Ashish took over the primary raider’s role. Overall in season 9, Ashish scored 120 points (raid-97 tackle-23) putting in an all-round performance. He could have added few more points in raiding which is what the team lacked but overall had a above par season.
Underperformer of the season
The cover defender scored only 26 tackle points in 21 matches at a tackle strike rate of 30 percent. He along with Surender Singh was the only experienced defender in the side and after the latter got injured Harender’s form dipped further. Overall Harendra Kumar has played 62 matches in the Pro Kabaddi League scoring 77 points.
Manager’s report card
Anil Chaprana performed reasonably well in his first stint as a head coach. Many after the auctions felt that U Mumba did not possess enough depth and experience to reach the playoffs but the coach with the limited resources performed well. The team collapsed towards the end of the season with Surinder Singh’s injury adding salt to the wound.
Lessons to be learned
The auction strategy needs to be spot on with none in the raiding department experienced to take up the primary role. Guman Singh performed decently and also did not get enough support from the secondary raiders. Also, the U Mumba team needs to have good bench strengths who can produce crucial points when required and this area too seemed to be a concern.
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