The Bengal Warriors went into the Pro Kabaddi Season 8 player auctions with one of the most sorted retentions and therefore had perhaps the least real work to do at the auction tables.
The Warriors managed to retain two elite A category players in the form of Maninder Singh and Iranian sensation Mohd. Nabibaksh. Both these players played vital roles in helping the team from Kolkata win the Pro Kabaddi League for the first time in 7 seasons. Along with these two elite retentions, Bengal retained left corner defender Rinku Narwal who again put his hand up in the last season to pull off some great performances helping in the team’s success. Warriors also retained their NYP from last season Ravinder Kumavat and given the retentions the Bengal Warriors made, they did not have a heavy purse going into the player auctions.
Overall Squad Rating: 6.25 / 10
The Warriors however still did have a lot of slots to be filled especially on the defence side of things and started their auction by buying Abozar Mighani at 30.5L in the foreign players’ lot to ensure their starting corners were covered before going into the domestic player’s category. In addition to that, they also went on to buy back-up corners like Sachin Vittala and Rohit Banne, making it four corners in their squad.
In the Cover defenders department, Bengal has cause for concern as they failed to retain Jeeva Kumar who had a topsy-turvy season but was extremely valuable in some important games. The cover line-up for season 8 features the error-prone combination of Darshan J and Vijin Thangadurai in the Right and Left Cover positions. Given that they still have two more slots to fill to we might get to see some NYP’s singed from outside.
The Raiding department of Bengal Warriors looks one of the most balanced in the tournament on paper. With Maninder Singh and Nabibaksh retained, Bengal went for the B and C category raiders in the auction and managed to sign back Sukesh Hegde who had a good season last time around after Maninder Singh’s injury just before the playoffs. Warriors also managed to sign Rishank Devadiga at a steal base price to further strengthen their raiding department. In categories C and D, they got few interesting names making their 2nd and 3rd raiding options also very strong. They signed Akash Pikalmunde (who could be a breakout star in our opinion) from Vidarbha, Manoj Gowda from Karnataka, Rohit from Haryana who featured in the K7 tournaments, and Sumit who played for the Bengaluru Bulls last season.
Overall Bengal Warriors looks like a lethal unit on paper and now it all comes down to how the Head Coach BC Ramesh manages his troops and gets the best out of this team. He is known to produce magic with the players he has and will want nothing less than to do the same this time around and successfully defend the title.