The team will be defending their crown in the upcoming edition of the tournament.

The Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) is soon coming back to action and the fans are eagerly waiting for it’s return. The auction for the eighth edition of the competition recently took place. There were a lot of bids for players by the participating teams who spent a lot of money for their desired players. As it is always the case with auctions, some teams got their targets while some missed out. 

After the conclusion of the auction, there is a clearer idea of where every team’s strengths and weaknesses lie. The case with Bengal Warriors for the upcoming season is similar to the rest, who have many strong points and a few weak points to take care of. 

Here is the squad analysis of the reigning PKL champions Bengal Warriors.

Strengths

Strong Raiding department

Bengal Warriors have plenty of stars in the raiding department. The likes of Maninder Singh, Rishank Devadiga and Sukesh Hegde lead the star-studded lineup. Maninder Singh did not play in the final of the previous season and yet the outfit won the match. There is incredible depth in the raiding department, where each individual has the capacity to win the game single-handedly. 

Maninder Singh scored 205 raiding points in 20 games last season, and is hailed as one of the best raiders in the league. With a 64% raid strike rate, he is very unpredictable and causes defenders a world of trouble due to his speed. His movements are tough to predict, which make Maninder a dangerous prospect for the opponents.

Sukesh Hegde is a great backup for the Bengal Warriors. He scored 26 points in do-or-die raids during the second season of the PKL and is a strong performer in those situations. When the next season arrives, one must keep an eye on Sukesh during a do-or-die raid situation, which has become his speciality.

Rishank Devadiga’s arrival

Devadiga will be a great addition to the Bengal Warriors squad (Courtesy: Pro Kabaddi)

Bengal Warriors have recruited Rishank Devadiga for the upcoming season. He represented UP Yoddha in the last season of the Pro Kabaddi League. During season three of the PKL, Devadiga finished second in the list of top raiders with 106 points from 16 matches. Furthermore, he has the experience of being a captain for UP Yoddha and will bring his experience to the squad. 

Moreover, he was instrumental in guiding Maharashtra to winning the Senior National Kabaddi Championships in 2017/18 after a gap of 11 years. Adding Rishank in a team consisting of Maninder is a great move by the Bengal Warriors. This will certainly take a huge chunk of responsibility off from Maninder’s shoulders when the next season arrives.

Esmaeil Nabibakhsh’s presence

An all-rounder like Esmaeil Nabibakhsh is an asset to any team in the whole division. Bengal Warriors are blessed to have a figure like him in the squad. He has made 23 appearances in the PKL till now, registering 92 points in raids and 30 points in defence.

Esmaeil was a vital player for the outfit last season, who performed well in the absence of an injured Maninder Singh. The all-rounder will certainly contribute again in both departments and help the team remain strong in defence and provide depth in the attack as well.

Weaknesses

Shortage of star defenders

Bengal Warriors are too reliant on their attacking prowess and the teams are aware of their defensive shortcomings. They have players like Rinku Narwal, Sachin Vittala, Praveen, Vijin Thangadurai and Darshan. However, these defenders are not very experienced. Although Nabibakhsh can help the defensive department, but relying on one player will not be a great strategy for the defending champions.

Interestingly, Rinku Narwal is the only Bengal Warriors player to have more than 100 tackle points under his belt. Bengal Warriors had good defenders like Jeeva Kumar and Baldev Singh which helped them lift the championship. These players were later released and this could backfire when the franchise steps out to defend their crown. 

Special focus will be towards the right corner where Baldev was a wall in front of the opposition’s raiders. The manner in which Bengal Warriors manages Baldev’s absence will be crucial in their title defence.

Squad

Raiders: Maninder Singh, Rishank Devadiga, Sukesh Hegde, Ravinder Kumawat, Akash Pikalmunde and Sumit Singh.  

Defenders: Rinku Narwal, Sachin Vittala, Praveen, Vijin Thangadurai, Rohit Banne, Darshan J and Abozar Mohajermighani.

All-rounders: Mohd. Esmaeil Nabibakhsh, Manoj Gowda and Rohit

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