The auction for the eighth edition of the league will take place on August 29 and 31.
The eighth edition of the Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) is approaching after an absence of two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The auction is set to take place on August 29 and 31 and the participating teams are allowed to retain a maximum of 12 players.
Let’s take a look at five players that the 2019 champions Bengal Warriors must retain to keep their core winning philosophy intact.
5. K Prapanjan
The raider played an absolutely essential support role during the title campaign of Bengal Warriors in 2019. The former Tamil Thalaivas star scored 105 total points in just 20 matches, at an average of 5.1 raid points per game.
His vast experience and ever-improving statistics make him a vital piece to keep for the Warriors, especially if they aim to become the second team to retain the PKL title in the coming edition.
Prapanjan did not have huge numbers in the knockout stages but his contributions in the league phase was vital to the Warriors as they finished in second on the table.
4. Mohammad Esmaeil Nabibakhsh
The Iranian had a pretty average 2019 season, till he exploded on to the mat during the knockouts. The Bengal Warriors were desperate for a leader on the mat after Maninder’s injury and Nabibakhsh stepped up and took over.
The all-rounder was a regular scorer on both sides of the mat, scoring 122 points in the 2019 season. The semi-final saw him score five points in a close win over U Mumba. However, he refused to let the Warriors lose in the finals, scoring a brilliant 10 points as his team fought hard to a brilliant five-point victory over Naveen Kumar’s Dabang Delhi KC.
3. Rinku Narwal
Rinku was one of the two solid defensive flag-bearers for the Bengal Warriors. The defender registered 64 tackle points during the 2019 campaign, sixth highest in the league.
His overall consistency was a key factor behind the Warriors’ title march. The Bengal Warriors finished second in the league but their captain Maninder Singh was injured. However, Rinku stepped up in the knockouts as he scored six tackle points during the two matches to help the Warriors win their first ever PKL title.
2. Baldev Singh
Baldev held for on one end of the mat with his partner Rinku Narwal. A key defender for the Bengal Warriors in their title-winning campaign, he scored 66 raid points in 24 matches. These included six occasions when he registered five or more tackle points (high fives).
Baldev also stepped up and registered four points during the knockout stages to push a Maninder-less Warriors to the title.
While he missed the knockouts, there is no questioning the fire that Maninder Singh brought to the Bengal Warriors title-winning squad of 2019. The 31-year-old was the centerpiece of the Kolkata-based team. He scored 205 raid points, the fifth highest in the league and also registered 10 Super 10s and 24 do-or-die raid points.
Maninder received an injury in the second last match of the group stage, but the Bengal Warriors continued their push to clinch their first title. Maninder’s role off the mat was a huge and his performances in the group stage helped the team reach a brilliant second position on the table.