Puneri Paltan has always been the home of some of the prominent Pro Kabaddi faces. Wazir Singh, Manjeet Chhillar, Ajay Thakur, Deepak Hooda, Sandeep Narwal, Girish Ernak then; Nitin Tomar and Rahul Chaudhari now. But the franchise has never achieved Pro Kabaddi glory even despite having iconic names in their squad over the years.
Puneri Paltan finished the 2019 PKL season standing in the 10th position of the points table. The tactical genius Anup Kumar made his coaching debut last season and is ready with his plans to turn around the fortunes of Orange Stallions. Let's see how Anup's Paltan will be lining up for awaited season eight.
Auction battle conquered
Anup Kumar aimed a squad overhaul for season eight. Paltan released Girish Ernak, Shubham Shinde and Surjeet who were the backbone of their defence. But Paltan successfully replaced these pillars with new credible faces. Akash Shinde, Shubham Shelke and Aslam Inamdar received a promotion to the first team as New Young Players (NYP). These three Maharashtrian youngsters were part of the franchise's developmental side Yuva Paltan.
Captain Nitin Tomar, living legend Rahul Chaudhari and rising star Pankaj Mohite are obvious candidates in Starting 7. Kenyan all-rounder Victor Obiero who stunned the PKL universe with Super-sub performances in the last two seasons, might get the same role in Paltan as well. Haryana's raiding sensation Mohit Goyat will be hoping for a memorable debut season after running riots in the K7 tournament.
Puneri Paltan franchise always believes in coordinative combinations between defensive pairs. Hence they replaced the Maharashtrian corner duo of Shubham Shinde and Girish Ernak with another pair who hails from the same state. Himachali corner defender duo Vishal Bharadwaj and Baldev Singh are reunited in the Puneri Paltan camp.
Even Paltan's first choice cover pair is from the same state Maharashtra. Right cover Balasaheb Jadhav and left cover Sanket Sawant had a stellar performance with Yuva Paltan in the All India Kabaddi Championship. Their coordination in that tournament might well force the Puneri Paltan management to consider them as the first choice. The defensive unit's depth strengthens in the presence of Iranian Hadi Tajik and Sombir Gulia.
Time for resurgence
Puneri Paltan's defence department is stacked with in-form names. But the current form of their two prominent raiding generals Nitin Tomar and Rahul Chaudhari may worry fans. Paltan gave a huge statement by handing raiding responsibilities to these two UP showmen who had forgettable campaigns in the previous edition.
Puneri Paltan expected Starting 7
Nitin Tomar (Raider) (Captain)
Rahul Chaudhari (Raider)
Pankaj Mohite (Raider)
Sanket Sawant (Left Cover)
Balasaheb Jadhav (Right Cover)
Vishal Bhardwaj (Left Corner)
Baldev Singh (Right Corner)
Dabang Delhi KC - 23 December 2021
Telugu Titans - 25 December 2021
Patna Pirates - 28 December 2021
Tamil Thalaivas - 31 December 2021
Bengaluru Bulls - 2 January 2022
Gujarat Giants - 5 January 2022
Jaipur Pink Panthers - 7 January 2022
Bengal Warriors - 9 January 2022
U Mumba - 13 January 2022
UP Yoddha - 17 January 2022
Haryana Steelers - 19 January 2022
Raiders- Rahul Chaudhari, Nitin Tomar, Pankaj Mohite, Pawan Kadian, Mohit Goyat, Akash Shinde, Shubham Shelke, Aslam Inamdar
All Rounders- Govind Gurjar, Victor Obiero, E Subhash
Defenders- Vishal Bharadwaj, Baldev Singh, Balasaheb Jadhav, Sanket Sawant, Hadi Tajik, Sombir Gulia, Karanvir, Abinesh Nadarajan, Sourav Kumar