The outfit is looking strong and will look to add another title to their name.
The Jaipur Pink Panthers are gearing up for the upcoming season of the Pro Kabaddi League (PKL). The inaugural winners of the competition will look to end the title drought and finally lift the trophy once again. The auction for the upcoming season took place in August 2021, where the participating franchises strengthened their squads with preferred targets.
The fans are eagerly waiting for the premier kabaddi competition in India which takes place later in December 2021 after a year’s hiatus. The auction saw several teams strategizing and bidding for their ideal players according to team balance. There is a much clearer idea of how the teams could perform next season after the conclusion of the auction. There were some notable moves in the Pro Kabaddi League, as teams went all out to get their desired players.
Jaipur Pink Panthers are one of the teams who would like to challenge for the PKL title. Their fans are expecting good things as the new season approaches. Let’s find out what can be expected from the team as we analyse their strengths and weaknesses.
Deepak Hooda is their biggest asset
Jaipur Pink Panthers are led by one of the fiercest captains in Deepak Hooda. He has previously captained the Indian national team and brings a wealth of experience to the squad. Hooda was the captain in the previous edition of the Pro Kabaddi League as well and the outfit has secured his services once again by paying ₹55 lakhs at the auction.
Deepak is a brilliant raider and a solid defender, making him one of the standout all-rounders in the Pro Kabaddi League. During the sixth season of the league, Deepak secured 10 of super 10s and one high-five as well. He was considered as the most prolific all-rounder in both the sixth and seventh season of the competition. Pink Panthers usually perform well when Hooda is on song. His do-or-die raids and running hand-touch are some moves popular among the fans.
Dharmaraj Cheralathan reinforces the defence
Dharmaraj Cheralathan is one of the best acquisitions for the Pink Panthers. He has previously won the Pro Kabaddi League with Patna Pirates in season four and was a crucial player in the success. The defender will add to the firepower of the team and aid defenders like Sandeep Dhull. Deepak Hooda will certainly relish the prospect of working with a player like Cheralathan next season as well.
Dharmaraj has played for several teams in the PKL before. This provides the player with a lot of experience and invaluable insight into the workings of those teams. He will aid the growth of players like Dhull and the Pink Panthers must be expecting big things from Cheralathan.
Reliance on Deepak Hooda and Sachin Narwal in the raiding department
There is no doubt on the abilities of Deepak Hooda and Sachin Narwal but over-reliance on them could backfire. Jaipur are clearly relying on these two figures and lack of options among the raiders could turn out to be a problem. Naveen and Arjun Deshwal could be good supporting options but they do not hold the same pedigree. The outfit should have brought in an experienced raider who could have released some of the pressure on Hooda and Narwal.
Naveen has only played 37 games in the Pro Kabaddi League, scoring 151 raid points. He only has two super-10s and a successful raid percentage of 46.74%. On the other hand, Arjun has experience of 22 games only with 108 raid points. He has three super-10s and relying on his output could be risky for the Pink Panthers.
Furthermore, the management will be wary of Hooda and his struggle with injuries. The raiding department will be without their major player if an injury catches the captain. These issues in the team could be detrimental and navigating them will take lots of careful work. The Jaipur Pink Panthers would like to become only the second team in PKL history to win more than one championship. They will need to work more on their weaknesses and try to iron them out to achieve success.
Raiders: Amin Nosrati, Amirhossein Maleki, Arjun Deshwal, Ashok, Naveen, Amit Nagar, Sushil Gulia
Defenders: Pavan TR, Amit Hooda, A Elavarasan, Sandip Dhull, Shaul Kumar, Amit Kharb, Dharmaraj Cheralathan, Vishal Lather
All-rounders: Deepak Hooda, Nitin Rawal, Sachin Narwal