The outfit are relying on their new recruits to deliver success in the upcoming season.
The Pro Kabaddi League is returning to action with Season 8 after a long gap of two years. The auction before the new season recently took place and was an entertaining affair to say the least. Post the auction, teams are ready and raring to go.
There were mixed emotions during the auction, as some teams got their targets while others missed out. The franchises were busy bidding for several players, keeping in mind their areas of improvement and combinations.
Tamil Thalaivas were one of the many teams that were active during the auction. They had released several notable players and had to assemble a team from scratch. Their focus was mainly on young players during the auction. Bringing in younger players will provide an impetus of energy and enthusiasm in the team from next season.
Here we look at the strengths and weaknesses of the Tamil Thalaivas squad ahead of PKL Season 8:
Young promising raiders
As mentioned above, the Tamil Thalaivas put more focus on bringing in young players. This strategy has given the team many fresh options in the raiding department. Athul MS, Manjeet, K Prapanjan, and Ajinkya Pawar are some of the players who can light up the mat. These players will have a point to prove and their youthful exuberance will add to the franchise’s overall performances.
Athul MS made his debut in the sixth season of the PKL and has been a useful player since then. He uses his tall frame to collect a lot of bonus points. He saves the team from do-or-die raid situations thanks to this trait. He made 58 raid points in 18 matches while playing for U Mumba last season. He would love to replicate his performance next season for Thalaivas.
Manjeet and Prapanjan’s acquisitions
Manjeet Chillar was very impressive while playing for Puneri Paltan last season. He scored more than 100 points in his debut season and 150 points in the next. He will shoulder a lot of expectations come the next campaign. Fans will hope that Manjeet could use his speed and tall frame to score many points and guide the Tamil Thalaivas to success.
K Prapanjan has played for Tamil Thalaivas before and understands the way the team functions. During the fifth season of the PKL, he made 123 points in 23 games for the Thalaivas. He was the second-best raider behind Ajay Thakur back then and will be looking to score buckets of points in the upcoming season. He also brought in most do-or-die raid points for the team apart from that.
Prapanjan was a Bengal Warriors player last season and has got a taste of winning the title. He will bring a winning mentality to the outfit which could prove to be vital for them.
Tamil Thalaivas do not have many notable defenders in their squad. They had the likes of Manjeet Chillar and Ran Singh who were very impressive last season. The former scored 37 and the latter scored 46 points for the Thalaivas. However, the defence in the upcoming season is an area of concern.
Players like Surjeet Singh, Himanshu, Sagar, Abhishek, and Sahil constitute the defensive department. Apart from Surjeet, the others lack experience. The right cover player has a plethora of tricks up his sleeve and his dash plus blocking techniques make him a tough competitor. Interestingly, Thalaivas will have huge expectations from Surjeet, who was the highest point-getter (63) in the seventh season.
However, the other defenders do not hold the same pedigree as Surjeet, which will invite more pressure on him. Himanshu, Sagar and M Abhishek do not have as much experience and cannot be reliable figures.
Departure of Ajay Thakur and Rahul Choudhary
Tamil Thalaivas were a popular team despite their performances. Figures like Ajay Thakur and Rahul Choudhary were fan-favourites and used to bring a lot of attention. With their departure, the team will most likely suffer in the popularity stakes. This could be a factor in the team’s performances.
Raiders: Ajinkya Pawar, Athul MS, K Prapanjan, Majeet and Bhavani Rajput.
Defender: M Abhishek, Surjeet Singh, Himanshu, Sagar, Sahil, and Tuhin Tarafder
All-rounder: Anwar Saheed Baba, Sagar Krishna, Santhapanaselvam and Sourabh Patil