The Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) is finally back with its eighth edition after a two-year wait with teams and players eager to go out on the mat. The tournament is scheduled to begin on December 22nd with a clash between Bengaluru Bulls and U Mumba. The teams and players have already started their preparations with the goal of putting in full efforts and laying their hands on the coveted PKL title.
The PKL 8 auction has altered the composition of all sides, but it will be their raiding acumen that will propel them further in the competition. Teams have acquired top-tier raiders in the auction to bolster their attack with a blend of young and veteran players.
On that note, let’s take a look at the three teams with the best raiders in the PKL 2021.
Dabang Delhi K.C.
Dabang Delhi K.C. will be eager to make up after missing out on a wonderful opportunity to win the PKL championship last year as they suffered a defeat against Bengal Warriors in the PKL 7 final. Delhi have built a strong squad this time and in Naveen Kumar and Ajay Thakur, they have an unusual blend of talent and expertise in the raiding department.
Naveen was the finest raider for Delhi, finishing in the top three of the 2019 raiders’ ranking with over 301 raid points including 21 consecutive super 10s, whereas Thakur is one of the most experienced campaigners in PKL with 811 points in 115 outings. Youngsters Ashu Malik, Emad Sedaghatnia, Neeraj Narwal, and Sushant Sail are the other raiders who will be assisting in the duo of Naveen and Thakur in the Delhi lineup.
UP Yoddha are one of the most consistent sides as they have managed to reach the knockouts since their introduction in the PKL 5. They reinforced their offense by signing Pardeep Narwal for a stunning 1.65 crores at the PKL 2021 Auction, as well as bringing back the swift and aggressive raider Shrikant Jadhav to establish a formidable raiding tandem with Pardeep.
The Dubki King has dominated the raiding records in PKL guiding Patna Pirates to three consecutive triumphs with over 1,100 raid points, but will now play for the Uttar Pradesh-based franchise. Shrikant, on the other hand, was UP’s best raider last season, with 148 raid points in 22 games, and his muscular stature and mobility would compliment Pardeep’s persistence nicely in the UP Yoddha’s squad. The duo will be backed by a bunch of other raiders in the UP’s squad which includes Aman Hooda, Ankit, Gulveer Singh, James Kamweti, Mohammad Taghi, Rohit, Rohit Tomar, Sahil, and Surender Gill.
Puneri Paltan have been the most underperforming side in the history of PKL as they are yet to reach the final stage despite boasting a number of quality players in the lineup over the seasons. However, this time, they will be aiming to end their drought and make an attempt to lift the PKL title for the very first time. The Paltan have roped in two of the finest raiders in PKL i.e showman Rahul Chaudhari and Nitin Tomar who hold multiple raisin records to their name.
Tomar has collected 467 points in 68 games, whereas Rahul has more than 1,000 PKL points. The former has been a crucial component for his side, regularly producing under pressure, while Rahul will look to rebound after a disappointing spell with the Thalaivas last season. Pankaj Mohite, Mohit Goyat, Victor Obiero, and Pawan Kadian will play the supporting role in the dynamic duo.
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