Bengaluru Bulls had a miserable season last time out. They lost the core of the squad which had lost narrowly in the finals of PKL2. Without adequate replacements, the season was always going to be one of rebuilding and building for the future. But still, they would not have expected the season to have gone so badly with just 2 wins in the entire season. Worse, was being the only team that lost to Dabang Delhi.
They have analysed their season, identified their weakness and have strengthened accordingly. They had scored the least number of defensive points last season
So they went ahead and spent 40% of their auction pool money on two of the best defenders in Kabaddi – Mohit Chillar and Surender Nada. Mohit Chillar was signed for a record breaking amount of 53Lakhs. Mohit Chillar and Surender Nada were the two corners for U Mumba. They starred in important roles as they helped U Mumba to the finals in all the 3 seasons of PKL. Surender Nada and Mohit Chillar have assisted 58 tackles in the last two seasons. They have also scored a combined 228 Points over the 3 seasons.
They retained two youngsters Ashish Sangwan and Pawan Kumar. Pawan Kumar is a do or die specialist. He was their top scoring raider from last season with 35 points. That is in itself an indication of how mediocre their raiding department was last season.
Lets have a closer look at how they spent the rest 60% of the auction money
Bengaluru Bulls have kept faith with the raiding department from last season.Unfortunately, their raiding wasn’t any better than their defense. They were the second lowest scoring raiding department in the league.
The one major change though is the departure of Surjeet Singh. And he has been replaced by Rohit Baliyan. Surjeet was the captain and he was coming back from a serious injury and it showed as he failed to replicate his form from season 1. Rohit Baliyan on the other hand had his breakthrough season in PKL3. After Deepak Niwas Hooda left Telugu Titans, and Rahul Chaudhari’s form nosedived. He took up the mantle and scored 54 Raid Points at a success rate of 69%. If he can keep up the form and stay fit for the campaign he will be a handful for the opposition defenses.
Bulls have also added Pawan Kumar from U Mumba. I will call him Pavan Kumar from now because there are two Pawan Kumars and it becomes confusing if they have same spellings too( especially in a data viz! ). Pavan Kumar
Pavan Kumar was primarily used for Do or Die Raids when he played for U Mumba. That is reflected by his relatively low success rate of 54%.
Amit Rathi is an underrated player. He is very consistent in scoring points. But, his discipline seems to be a problem. He is the first player to get a red card in PKL and he got a couple of yellow cards over the course of the season too.
The other raiders are decent and can do a job. But, they aren’t good enough for a team aiming to win the championship. I would love to be proved wrong though.
As we have mentioned earlier, bengaluru made most of their investment on their defense. They signed the excellent Mohit Chillar and Surender Nada. They also added Manoj Kumar from Telugu Titans. Manoj Kumar is a decent defender. He will provide good support to Mohit Chillar and Surender nada.
Manoj Kumar and Ashish Sangwan will be the two covers and will be expected to support mohit and surender in the defense. One reason for the excellent record of Mohit and Surender for U Mumba was the excellent support they recieved from Jeeva Kumar and Vishal Mane. Manoj and Ashish are good defenders and it will be a test for Mohit and Surender in how they will adapt to their new defensive partners.
Another worry for Bengaluru will be the quality of the cover available in case of injuries to their starters. Jeeva Gopal and Rahul Kumar are mediocre at best.
It is going to be a long and hard season for Bengaluru and if they can stay clear of injuries and find a consistent starting 7, they will be in contention for a playoff spot at the end of the season.