PKL 2021: Talking points from Week number 1
From Dabang Delhi's unbeaten run to the lack of support and injury for Siddharth Desai, here are all the major talking points from week 1 of PKL 2021.
It has been a week since the Pro Kabaddi League 2021 was kicked off at the Sheraton Grand Bengaluru Whitefield Hotel and Convention Centre. The fans have been treated with 18 matches of Kabaddi action – most of them nail-biting thrillers in the first week.
Here, we take a look at some of the biggest talking points from the first week of PKL 2021.
No support for Siddharth Desai
Having played three matches in PKL 2021, the Telugu Titans find themselves second to bottom in the points table. They are also only one of the two teams who are yet to register a win this season. While their star raider, Siddharth 'Bahubali' Desai has done all he can, the lack of support from the other end has rendered his efforts useless. To pour salt into the wounds, Siddharth did not even take the mat in the second half of their third match against Haryana Steelers due to an injury.
Desai sits number four on the list of top raiders this season with 35 points, but their next best player Ankit Beniwal is number 27 on the list with just 12 points – 9 of which came in a single match.
What's up with Manjeet Chillar?
The Dabang Delhi sit comfortably on the top of the points table and are the only team with no losses so far in this season. The Dabangs went in and brought a lot of experienced stars to their lineup, including the likes of Manjeet Chillar and Ajay Thakur in the auction.
While Thakur has not been required to put in a lot of effort this season despite being named in the starting seven in all their four games, Manjeet Chillar has failed to live up to the billing. The veteran has managed to pocket just two tackle points in three matches and has a total of 12 unsuccessful tackle attempts.
Puneri Paltan's weird strategy
The Puneri Paltan started their campaign with a loss against the Dabang Delhi KC. They have since resorted to a weird strategy in the next two games by benching their officially named captain Nitin Tomar for both the games and substituting star raider Rahul Chaudhari after the first 10 minutes of the match.
While this worked in their second match against Telugu Titans, they were hammered by Patna Pirates in the following game. In fact, coach Anup Kumar decided not to send in Chaudhari even when the Puneri Paltan were trailing by eight or nine points towards the end against the Pirates.
Fazel Atrachali's struggle
Former champions U Mumba has had a scratchy start to PKL 2021. They registered a convincing win in the season opener before falling to a loss against Dabang Delhi and being held for a draw by Tamil Thalaivas.
While U Mumba has had someone or the other stand up for them in the raiding department, the lack of form for skipper Fazel Atrachali has been a major concern for them. The Iranian Sultan has managed to pocket just two tackle points – a super tackle in the season opener against Bengaluru Bulls, so far in three matches.
Inexperience costing Tamil Thalaivas?
Along with the Titans, Tamil Thalaivas are the only team who are yet to taste victory this season. They came close twice in three games, but both those matches ended in draws. It feels as if the Thalaivas have made it a habit to throw away a big lead and their coach, J Udaya Kumar, blamed it on the inexperience of the team in a post-match media interaction after their third match against U Mumba.
Pardeep-less Patna starts well
One of the biggest questions ahead of the start of PKL 2021 was how will the Patna Pirates fare in the absence of their star raider Pardeep Narwal. A week and three matches down the line, the answer is the loss of Narwal does not really bother them much. The likes of Monu Goyat, Sachin Tanwar and captain Prashanth Kumar Rai have all stood up under various crunch situation and has helped the team to number 2 in the points table after the first week.
Arjun Deshwal – a new star in making?
The Jaipur Pink Panthers had a horror start to PKL 2021 falling to a loss against the Gujarat Giants. But they have bounced back since with two wins in a row, thanks to the young raider Arjun Deshwal.