The outfit are a step ahead in the defensive department as compared to other teams.
The auction for the upcoming season of the Pro Kabaddi League was an exciting affair. The respective teams are now focusing towards preparing for Season 8 of the competition. Several teams bid for their desired players in the auction, considering the combinations and team balance. During this process, some teams got their targets, while others missed out on securing their preferred players.
A look at the teams post the auction suggests that they are either strong in the raiding department or the defensive one. Also, there are some teams which are solely dependent on big-name players, which could be a risky move.
Gujarat Giants, formerly known as the Gujarat Fortunegiants are the point of focus in this article, as we uncover the strengths and weaknesses of all the teams.
Here is an analysis of the Gujarat Giants’ squad ahead of the eighth season of the Pro Kabaddi League:
Defence is their biggest asset
Gujarat Giants could be termed as the best defensive team in the league. It is their biggest strength and defenders like Ravinder Pahal, Sunil Kumar, Hadi Oshtorak, Girish Maruti and Parvesh Bhainswal make up the numbers in the team.
Parvesh Bhainswal has been immaculate for Gujarat Giants in the past two seasons. His pairing with Sunil Kumar is very popular, as both players play left-cover and right-cover respectively. Their coordination is incredible and opposition raiders find it hard to deal with it. The combination between Sunil and Parvesh is the reason why they are both so successful.
Girish Maruti holds a lot of experience in the left-corner position. During the fifth season of the PKL, he collected 64 tackle points for Puneri Paltan. He is famous for dashing something that sets him apart from other players. A raider becomes unsettled when he faces a dash from Girish, which is eventually beneficial for the team.
Ravinder Pahal has bolstered the defence
Ravinder Pahal was a Dabang Delhi player last term. He collected 300 tackle points in the seventh season of the Pro Kabaddi League, making him only the second player to do so. In the auction, the Gujarat Giants bought him for ₹74 lakhs. His arrival has further bolstered the Ahmedabad-based side’s defensive department.
Pahal could be immense for the Giants in the upcoming season. The player who is famous for his “Thigh Hold” has collected 340 points in 112 overall matches. He possesses the capability to tackle any raider in the league single-handedly. This quality is particularly useful in do-or-die raids.
Raiding department lacks experience
Gujarat Giants have a strong defensive department but on the other hand, their raiding department is very weak. The squad lacks big-name players and experienced figures. Until last season, Rohit Gulia was handling the raiding department but he has been released. Mahendra Rajput and Ajay Kumar are the only two worthwhile names in the raider’s block.
Mahendra Rajput has played over 62 matches during which he has collected 195 points. On the other hand, Ajay Kumar has played 50 matches, scoring 183 points. The successful raiding percentage stands at less than 45%, which is a cause for worry.
Apart from that, these two players did not play last season and could take time to get into a rhythm. They will have to make necessary adjustments and Gujarat Giants could suffer from this predicament.
Bad performances in knockout fixtures
Gujarat Giants are one of the stronger teams in the PKL. They have been consistent performers in the past. However, their point of weakness has been defeats in qualifier games. During the fifth and sixth seasons, they were at the top of the standings in Group B and became strong contenders to win the title. But, their performances in the knockout rounds was not that impressive and they crumbled under pressure. Gujarat Giants must work on fixing this part of their overall game.
Raiders: Ajay Kumar, Harmanjit Singh, Harshit Yadav, Mahendra Rajput, Maninder Singh, Pardeep Kumar, Rathan K, Sonu.
Defenders: Ankit, Ravinder Pahal, Parvesh Bhainswal, Girish Maruti, Sumit, Soleiman Pahlevani, Sunil Kumar
All-rounder: Hadi Oshtorak