The winners of the inaugural season of the Pro Kabaddi League didn’t have a great show in the previous season but they will want to keep things aside and come up with something special this year. With Deepak Niwas Hooda in the team, a lot is expected from the Jaipur Pink Panthers in season 7.
How they performed in the previous season?
The team from Rajasthan went into the sixth season with Captain Cool Anup Kumar as their leader but their performance was not that great from the very beginning of the tournament. With players like Sandeep Dhull and Mohit Chhillar in the defence and Dipak Hooda as an all-rounder, the team still struggled to leave a mark in 2018. After Anup decided to stay out of the mat towards the last few matches, Deepak Hooda took over the captaincy but Jaipur could manage only 43 points with six wins to finish fifth on Zone A points table. Dipak Hooda was the only player who did something good for the side last year.
Who are the star players for the Pink Panthers?
Coming into the seventh edition of the league, the inaugural champions decided to keep Dipak Niwas Hooda with them even before the auctions. With the ability to contribute to the team’s success both in the raiding and defence, the all-rounder is the biggest player to watch out for in the season from Jaipur. He will want to continue from where he had left in PKL 6 with the same side. Apart from being the main raider in the side, he will be mostly seen at the left in position with his defensive duties.
Jaipur Pink Panthers squad:
Deepak Niwas Hooda, Sandeep Kumar Dhull, Ajinkya Pawar, Lokesh Kaushik, Pavan TR, Sachin Narwal, Sushil Gulia, Amit Hooda, Deepak Narwal, Nilesh Salunke, Vishal Lather, Sunil Siddhgavali, Dong Gyu Kim, Malinda Chaturanga, Karamvir, Guman Singh
SportsCafe’s starting 7:
Centre – Ajinkya Pawar
Right in – Nilesh Salunke
Left in – Deepak Niwas Hooda
Left corner – Sandeep Dhull
Right corner – Amit Hooda
Left cover – Nitin Rawal
Right cover – Sunil Siddhagavali
What is their strength?
The experience of Deepak Hooda and Dhull will be the biggest strength for the Pink Panthers as they would want these two to perform as per expectations in this season as well. The left corner in the defence will be in safe hands with an experienced campaigner like Dhull in the side. With Deepak Hooda mostly getting the captaincy role, the combination between the two will matter a lot and the good thing is that the two players played together for the side in the last season as well. Having players who can chip in with both their defensive and attacking roles is another positive for the side. Apart from Deepak Hooda, Nitin Rawal is another such player who is equally good in both raiding and tackling.
Where they can fall behind from other teams?
The management will have to take a call on Deepak Hooda and Rawal on their positions at left cover or left in. Both are all-rounders and as the team doesn’t have a proper left cover, they will have to choose any one of them to take over at that defensive position. However, this will have an impact on their raiding capabilities as well. Defence remains an issue on the other side of the mat as well for the Pink Panthers as both Amit Hooda at the corner and Sunil Siddhagavali at cover were poor for Tamil Thalaivas and the Pink Panthers respectively. The defence is short of an experienced man for this season apart from Dhull. Having Nilesh Salunkhe and Ajinkya Pawar as the second and third raider in the team, also puts additional pressure on Deepak Hooda. So, lack of experienced players in the side remains to be an area where the Pink Panthers might fall behind the rest in the league.
Why one should support Jaipur Pink Panthers?
The team from Pink City Jaipur is owned by Abhishek Bachchan and has the Bollywood connection. But, that is not the only reason why one should support the Pink Panthers. They are the inaugural champions and have proven themselves in the previous editions of the league. The team has one of the best all-rounders among the current crop of kabaddi players in Deepak Niwas Hooda and he is expected to attract more crowd to the stadiums whenever the Jaipur-based side is in action in PKL 7.
When they will play their games?
Pretty much like defending champions Bengaluru Bulls, the Pink Panthers also had to play their home matches out of Jaipur last season. However, they are expected to be back at the Sawai Man Singh Indoor Stadium in Rajasthan’s capital city this year and their home leg will be played from September 21 to September 27. The inaugural champs will begin their journey in the 2019 edition of the league against U Mumba on July 22 in Hyderabad.
July 22 vs U Mumba in Hyderabad
July 27 vs Bengal Warriors in Mumbai
July 31 vs Haryana Steelers in Mumbai
July 3 vs Patna Pirates in Patna
August 5 vs Dabang Delhi in Patna
August 15 vs Puneri Paltan in Ahmedabad
August 16 vs Gujarat Fortunegiants in Ahmedabad
August 19 vs UP Yoddha in Chennai
August 21 vs Tamil Thalaivas in Chennai
August 24 Telugu Titans in Delhi
August 25 vs Bengaluru Bulls in Delhi
August 31 vs U Mumba in Bengaluru
September 4 vs Dabang Delhi in Bengaluru
September 11 vs Haryana Steelers in Kolkata
September 12 vs Patna Pirates in Kolkata
September 16 vs UP Yodhha in Pune
September 21 vs Gujarat Fortunegiants in Jaipur
September 22 vs Bengal Warriors in Jaipur
September 25 vs Puneri Paltan in Jaipur
September 27 vs Telugu Titans in Jaipur
October 4 vs Bengaluru Bulls in Panchkula
October 7 vs Tamil Thalaivas in Greater Noida
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