Talented raider K. Prapanjan returns to the team after a gap of two seasons.
Tamil Thalaivas went for a complete overhaul in the Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) season 8 players Auction, after being placed at the bottom-half of the points table ever since their debut in Season 5. The Chennai-based franchise heavily invested in rock-solid cover defender PO Surjeet Singh and snapped up talented raiders like Manjeet and K. Prapanjan.
For a team that has boasted star names like Ajay Thakur, Manjeet Chhillar and Rahul Chaudhari in the past, Tamil Thalaivas will start from scratch with a fresh squad filled with youngsters and a diligent leader in Surjeet Singh. In this article, we look at how Tamil Thalaivas have shaped up ahead of Pro Kabaddi season 8.
PO Surjeet Singh helming the squad
Tamil Thalaivas splurged ₹75 lakh to sign the services of Surjeet Singh, making him the costliest defender of the Season 8 Player Auction. Surjeet has been the most successful cover defender in PKL with 278 tackle points and the record for the most High-5s (27) in the tournament history.
Having represented Puneri Paltan, U Mumba, and Bengal Warriors in the past, the cover defender has stamped his authority with his hard-hitting dashes and his immense experience will come in handy as he mentors the youngsters in the squad. Surjeet’s composure and his ability to score under pressure will surely benefit the Tamil Thalaivas in the upcoming season.
Nifty Raiders lead Offence
Tamil Thalaivas have managed to assemble a raiding unit with talented youngsters who have proven their mettle on the big stage in Season 7. Manjeet and K. Prapanjan will take charge of the offensive line-up with other up and coming raiders looking to make their mark in the season ahead.
Manjeet had a brilliant outing in Season 7 with 123 raid points and 28 tackle points to his name. The Delhi-based raider was also a part of the silver-winning Services team in the 68th Senior National Kabaddi Championship.
On the other hand, K. Prapanjan was a vital cog for Bengal Warriors’ title-winning run in Season 7, where he served as a handy foil for Maninder Singh and Mohammad Nabibakhsh. The local lad will return to Tamil Thalaivas hoping to replicate his previous stint where he had his career-best campaign of 122 raid points (in Season 5).
Other recruits like Athul MS, Ajinkya Pawar, Bhavani Rajput, and Sourabh Tanaji Patil have depicted a glimpse of their raiding abilities in previous seasons. They will add immense depth and versatility to the offence and will look forward to showcasing a variety of skills when they take the mat for Tamil Thalaivas in Season 8.
Defenders with a point to prove
Tamil Thalaivas have signed young defenders for Season 8 who will rally around PO Surjeet Singh – the only established defender in their ranks. Himanshu, M. Abishek, and Sagar Rathee were the only retentions for the side in the existing New Young Players category.
The youngsters will have a point to prove in the upcoming season shouldering the defence for the team. The corner duo of Sagar Rathee and Sagar Krishna will form a partnership for the Thalaivas, while Santhapanaselvam and Himanshu may be used as substitutional corners. M. Abishek and Sahil could be used as cover defenders as well.
Foreign imports – Anwar Saheed Baba from Sri Lanka and Bangladesh’s Mohammad Tuhin Tarafder will flourish under head coach J. Udaya Kumar, who is amongst India’s most renowned coaches of modern times. Udaya Kumar has led the Indian national team to two World Cups (2004 & 2007) and three Asian Games gold medals (2002, 2006 & 2014).
Tamil Thalaivas could be up for an impactful campaign in the upcoming season as they aim to script a new legacy in vivo Pro Kabaddi Season 8.