Pro Kabaddi League's inaugural edition champions, Jaipur Pink Panthers came back strongly from the horrible performances of season 2 and 3 to finish at a respectable 3rd position in the fourth edition. The Abhishek Bachchan-owned franchise will try to emulate their first year’s performance.
Last season finish
On the back of a stellar run that saw them win 10 matches out of their 14 league matches in the first season, Jaipur Pink Panthers emerged much stronger in the final as they beat U Mumba to win the title. But, the team's performance slipped in the following two seasons and they finished 5th and 6th respectively. However, the team made a remarkable comeback last season as they qualified for the playoffs, and ended the season at 3rd place.
Jaipur at the 2017 PKL auction
While every team decided to retain one player each from their last year squad, Jaipur was the only franchise to not retain any player and went with a full purse to the auction. They were successful in purchasing all-rounder Manjeet Chhillar for a whopping 75.5 lakhs, and raiders Selvamani K and Jasvir Singh for an astounding additional 1.24 crores.
Squad for PKL Season V
Raiders: Ajit Singh, Jasvir Singh, Kamal Kishor, Pawan Kumar Kadian, Rahul Choudhary, Selvamani K, Sunil Siddhgavali, Tushar Patil,
Defenders: Jae Min Lee, Manoj Dhull, Navneet Gautam, Ravinder Kumar, Somvir Shekhar, Vignesh B
All-rounders: Abhishek N., Dong Gyu Kim, Manjeet Chhillar, Santhapanaselvam, Siddharth
Manjeet Chhillar: Manjeet Chhillar has been the poster-boy of the Pro Kabaddi League since its inception, having led Bengaluru Bulls and Puneri Paltans in the previous editions. In every season, he was the chief architect in taking the team to the playoffs and proved his credentials by averaging over 100 points in each season. After being successful in acquiring his services, Jaipur will hope for a similar performance to continue their recent recovery.
Jasvir Singh: Jasvir, who has been a crucial player for the Indian side for a long time now, has been one of the most successful raiders in the league. Having played in all the 4 seasons of the league's existence, the Haryana-born lad has secured 277 raid points in 46 games. He has also accumulated 23 defence points, which takes his tournament total to 300. With Jasvir, Jaipur have a reliable star and the team from the Pink city will hope his trademark scorpion kick comes to the fore again.
Apart from the deadly duo of Chhillar and Jasvir, Jaipur have a fantastic raider in the form of Selvamani K, who has accumulated 222 points from only 31 matches. Jaipur are being coached by India's national coach Balwan Singh, who is known to be one of most tactically astute coaches in the country. In the form of their former skipper Navneet Gautam, the Bachhan-owned franchise have a reliable defender to stop oppositions’ runs. Overall, JPP, much like the pink city of Jaipur, should mirror its staple diet, predictable yet bankable.
Weakness: Despite being the champions of the first season, Pink Panthers have been inconsistent in the following two editions and with a completely new team, the way they will go this edition is anyone's guess. The major concern for Jaipur will be the fitness of Navneet, who has had a fair share of injury problems in his career. While he is fit now for the PKL, Jaipur will be hoping that he lasts the distance as his absence at a crucial juncture could prove to be a body blow.
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