India's second most watched league Pro Kabaddi League is back with its 9th edition from October 7th, 2022.
After an auction which saw records breaking left, right and centre, all the 12 franchises are having a new look from the change in players to coaching personnel.
We take a look at how Puneri Paltan lines up for the upcoming season.
Last Season Review
With a very young team, Coach Anup Kumar took Puneri Paltan to the playoffs but they failed to make the cut for the semi-finals after losing in the eliminator.
Puneri Paltan had a season of revelations with many young superstars proving themselves.
Mohit Goyat and Aslam Inamdar were the biggest finds for Puneri Paltan with both of them scoring 187 and 189 points respectively.
PKL 9- Squad Changes
Puneri Paltan retained their youth brigade of Mohit Goyat, Sanket Sawant, Aslam Inamdar, Pankaj Mohite, Shubham Shelke and the experienced defender Sombir Gulia.
With the release of Nitin Tomar, Puneri needed a leader which they got in form of Fazel Atrachali making him the most expensive foreigner in the history of PKL auction.
The foreign buy-in auction came in form of Mohammad Nabibaksh who is a former champion with Bengal Warriors and is an experienced addition to the squad.
Puneri added more youth in the form of Harsh Lad, Balasaheb Shahaji, Rakesh Ram, Alankar Patil and D Mahindaprasad.
Puneri Paltan Full Squad-
Retained Players: Mohit Goyat, Akash Santhosh Shinde, Sanket Sawant, Govind Gurjar, Aslam Inamdar, Sombir, Abinesh Nadarajan, Shubham Nitin Shelke, Pankaj Mohite, Badal Taqdir Singh, and Aditya Tushar Shinde.
Auction Buys: Fazel Atrachali, Mohammad Esmaeil Nabibakhsh, Alankar Kaluram Patil, Rakesh Bhalle Ram, Balasaheb Shahaji Jadhav, Harsh Mahesh Lad, and D Mahindaprasad.
PKL 9 Preview- Strength and Weakness
Strength- Puneri Paltan has kept its youth core intact. With Mohit Goyat and Aslam Inamdar, Puneri will go with the experience of Mohammad Nabibaksh as the third raider.
The trio of these three players have the perfect balance of experience and youth and they can take out any defence on their day.
With the signing of Fazel Atrachali, Puneri has a leader and one of the best corner defenders in their rank. He has earned 372 points in 125 matches, with 368 of them coming as a defender. The Iranian left-corner defender has registered 23 High 5s in his career so far
The duo of Sombir and Fazel will be a monster corner combination.
Pune already has a settled cover combination in the form of Sanket Sawant and Abhinesh Nadarajan.
Weakness- Apart from Pankaj Mohite, Pune has no raiding backup. The backups are either unproven at this level or not up to the mark at this moment.
The second problem they will face is the defence back up. Nobody can replace names like Sombir or Fazel and if Plan A doesn't work for Pune, the second line of defenders will find it too much at the level of PKL.
With a strong lineup but no quality backup, Puneri Paltan is walking a tight line here.
Puneri Paltan Predicted 7 for PKL 9
Sombir Gulia (Right Corner), Fazel Atrachali (Left Corner), Mohit Goyat (Right In), Aslam Inamdar (Left In), Abinesh Nadarajan (Right Cover), Sanket Sawant (Left Cover) and Mohammad Nabibakhsh (Center).