3-time Pro Kabaddi Champions the Patna Pirates will go into Season 8 without their star man Pardeep Narwal and look like they might have an uphill task after a tough few days at the auction table ahead of December’s start of the PKL
When the Pro Kabaddi League auction started, all eyes were on the auction table of the Patna Pirates for myriad reasons. The most successful franchise in history is bound to grab more eyeballs than the other teams, especially, when you haven’t retained the poster boy of the team and the league – The Dubki King, Pardeep Narwal.
Pardeep’s release into the auction for the first time from the team left a void in the 3-time champions and he was eventually sold after a bidding war for a whopping Rs. 1.65Cr, the highest in history. The exorbitant price tag also meant that the Pirates did not use the Final Bid Match(FBM) card to retain his services and for the fans, it now means Pardeep and Patna will no longer be synonymous.
Overall Squad Rating: 5 / 10
Due to the inexperience of the retained players, the Pirates had to do a lot of work on the auction table and the franchise’s recent run of form doesn’t help either. They haven’t qualified for the playoffs in the last two seasons after winning three titles on the trot and that might be hard to shift coming into Season 8 with their current squad on paper.
Patna’s performance on the auction table was a true mixed bag. While they have put together a stellar line-up of raiders, the defenders leave a lot to be desired yet again and might hurt them on the mat. The Pirates have depth with raiders like Sachin Tanwar and Prashant Kumar Rai with the duo bought for 84 lakh and 55 lakh respectively. Tanwar was in the top 10 list of raiders in season 6 but scored just 91 points with the Gujarat Giants in Season 7. Monu Goyat meanwhile makes a return to the franchise after playing second fiddle to Pardeep previously while Jang Kun Lee also returns as their ace foreign star. JKL was a part of the squad in Season 7 and was prominently used by the team in the second half.
Mohammadreza Shadloui Chiyaneh was the costliest foreign player of the auction as he was bought for 31 lakhs and is touted for big things for the men in green and could also slot in as the left corner defender.
Much like the previous season, the defense is the weak link of this side who on paper, have just five specialist defenders in their squad which is a cause for concern. Moreover, none of the defenders have even established themselves in the Pro Kabaddi League and that inexperience might hurt the Pirates in the upcoming season too. Neeraj Kumar was the best defender in the 2019 PKL and was hence retained to be the leader of the defensive group which could be the major impediment for the Pirates this season. After their below-par performance on the auction table, their chances of qualifying for the playoffs look bleak but we’ve learnt from the past never to write off the Pirates who could spring a few surprises to make other franchises walk the plank.