The upcoming season will kickstart on October 7 in Bengaluru.
The PKL season 9 is about to start in a few days (October 7th) with the first leg being held at Bengaluru. Last season all the matches were held in Bengaluru without spectators but this time the organizers have gone in with four venues with spectators making their presence felt this time.
The franchises have slowly started announcing their team captains after finalizing their squad. In this article let us look at the captains of the respective PKL franchises.
Joginder Narwal (Haryana Steelers)
The 36-year-old has played for multiple teams in the PKL and in season 8 captained the Dabang Delhi KC who eventually went on to lift the title. Joginder operates mainly from the Left Corner position and had a dismal season in season 8. He paired up with Ravinder Pahal in the right corner and has had good success in the past.
In PKL season 9, Joginder will have a similar role to play as he did for the Delhi franchise to nurture young talents like Meetu. Joginder Narwal has been a good mentor for the likes of Naveen Kumar and Vijay Malik. Haryana Steelers do not have any star raiders on their side and it will be the duty of Joginder along with Manpreet to back the players which both have already done before and have been successful.
Maninder Singh (Bengal Warriors)
After the exploits in the first season, he couldn’t take part in the PKL due to injuries. But the return was much stronger and Bengal was quick to latch on to Maninder a few seasons back. There is no looking back since and has been Bengal’s go-to raider in all situations.
Maninder has the ability to raid regardless of the number of defenders. Maninder makes good use of his upper body strength and evades the defenders with ease. In PKL 9 Bengal Warriors changed the coach and made major changes to the squad. Maninder like before should score more than 250 raid points for Bengal to reach the playoffs.
Mahender Singh (Bengaluru Bulls)
Mahender is one of the most experienced defenders for Bengaluru Bulls and has been with the team for more than four years. Randhir Singh Sehrawat appointed Maninder ahead of Vikash Kandola may be due to the experience Maninder possesses and not to put much pressure on Kandola in his first season at Bengaluru.
Maninder in PKL 9 has to level up his game and shouldn’t commit to unsuccessful tackles like before.
Chandran Ranjith (Gujarat Titans )
Chandran Ranjith has been provided with a great responsibility in PKL 9 after being appointed as the captain by Ram Mehar Singh. Ranjith has played for many franchises in the past but only as a secondary raider. This time he will be the primary raider for Gujarat Titans and will look to make use of this opportunity.
Chandran Ranjith has led Tamil Nadu in the past to the quarter-finals of the National Kabaddi Championships but the pressure of playing PKL is completely different.
Fazel Atrachalli (Puneri Paltan)
Fazel Atrachali is the most experienced player in PKL and this season will be plying his trade for Puneri Paltan. Captaining a team is not new to Fazel as he has done it before with his National team Iran and U Mumba in PKL 8.
Fazel makes his presence felt on the mat by giving valuable advice to the players and grooms them well. Last season it was evident with Ajith Kumar who turned out to be the most successful raider for U Mumba along with Abhishek Singh. Fazel is known to get the best out of the players and in PKL 9 he will have a similar role to be played nurturing youngsters like Aslam Inamdar and Pankaj Mohite.
Pawan Kumar Sehrawat (Tamil Talaivas)
Pawan Sehrawat has led Bengaluru Bulls to the title in PKL 7 topping the raiders list. He was supported by Rohit Kumar but was not in his best form in the latter stages of that season. Pawan single-handedly won Bengaluru the title.
The same would be the case with Tamil Talaias which could be seen at the auctions, Tamil Talaivas shed out more than half of their purse on Pawan knowing his importance and bought him at 2.26 crores the highest bid in PKL history. The star raider will have good support from do-or-die specialist Ajinkya Pawar.
Ravinder Pahal (Telugu Titans)
The hawk will be donning the jersey of Telugu Titans in PKL 9 after representing Dabangg Delhi and Bengaluru Bulls in the past season. Ravinder Pahal along with Surjeet Singh are the most experienced defenders both for the Titans and in the PKL.
Ravinder Pahal is known for his advance and unsuccessful tackles in the past. This season he shall try to reduce it after being given the added responsibility. He will have Surjeet Singh, and Parvesh Bainswal to support him.
Nitesh Kumar (UP Yodhhas)
Nitesh Kumar will continue to captain the UP Yodhhas team in PKL season 9. The best season for him and the Yodhhas was in PKL 7 where Sumit and Nitesh formed a deadly combo and decimated all the raiders. The same was not the case last season with both not performing at their best.
Nitesh should look to perform better and go to the playoffs having good raiders in Gill, Pawan and Nitin Tomar. Nitesh should utilise the trio in a sensible way.
Neeraj Kumar (Patna Pirates)
Neeraj is one of the retained players for the Patna Pirates. After finishing runners-up in the last season the Patna franchise will look to go one step further and take the title. Sachin Kumar and other primary defenders like Chiyaneh and Abinesh Nadarajan have been retained.
Patna Pirates has changed their coach after a long relationship with Ram Mehar Singh. Neeraj Kumar will shoulder the responsibilities and shall look to take hold of the team.