PKL 2017 | UP Yoddha : Preview, Player List, Fixtures, Live Streaming

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PKL 2017 | UP Yoddha : Preview, Player List, Fixtures, Live Streaming

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Rohan Chawla

07/30/2017

UP Yoddha is a Lucknow based franchise owned by the GMR group and one of the four new teams that have been included in the fifth edition of the Pro Kabaddi League. The team have the best raiders in its ranks, who could single-handedly help the team make an impact in their debut season.

UP Yoddha have been placed in Zone B and will compete against teams like Telugu Titans, Bengaluru Bulls, Tamil Thalaivas, Patna Pirates, U Mumba, and Bengal Warriors. Nitin Tomar has been named the captain of the team and is expected to lead the debutants to the playoffs, at least.

UP at the 2017 PKL auction

The GMR owned franchise went all out at this year's auction, spending big to buy the most popular names in the league. UP bagged the services of local boy Nitin Tomar at a whopping Rs 93 lakhs, making him the costliest player in the history of the PKL. He was followed by all-rounder Rajesh Narwal, who was roped in for Rs 69 lakhs. The Lucknow based franchise did not stop there and acquired the services of experienced defender Jeeva Kumar for Rs 52.2 lakhs and another star raider Rishank Devadiga for Rs 45.5 lakhs. They also roped in multiple youngsters to try and create a perfect blend of experience and youth.

Squad for PKL Season V

Raiders: Nitin Tomar, Ajvender Singh, Gulveer Singh, Mahesh Goud, Rishank Devadiga, Sulieman Kabir, Surender Singh

Defenders: Gurvinder Singh, Hadi Tajik, Jeeva Kumar, Nitesh Kumar, Rohit Kumar, Sanoj Kumar, Santhosh B.S

All-rounders: Pankaj, Rajesh Narwal, Sagar Krishna, Sunil 

Key Players:

Rajesh Narwal: The experienced all-rounder helped Jaipur Pink Panthers win the inaugural season of the league by both raiding opponents and utilising his defensive abilities against them. The 27-year old led the Pink Panthers to the final in the last season of PKL and has a total of 350 points to his name from the 60 matches he has played so far. Apart from his consistent performance in the league, Narwal has only received 8 green cards in his whole PKL career making him an even more valuable asset for the team.

Rishank Devadiga: The 23-year old has been a familiar name in the PKL and has played an important role in U Mumba's success in the league. Devadiga has a total of 284 raid points under his belt from the 59 matches he has played in his PKL career and is expected to spearhead the team's raids alongside captain Nitin Tomar. 

Jeeva Kumar: The 36-year old PKL veteran will provide the team valuable insights into the game and play a pivotal role in the success of the team. Kumar is the only experienced name in the UP Yoddha's defense and is expected to guide the young brigade and lead from the front with his fierce tackles. 

Strengths:

The UP Yoddha franchise are banking on its star-studded raiders, including the likes of Rishank Devadiga, Nitin Tomar, Mahesh Goud and all-rounder Rajesh Narwal. Nitin Tomar, the captain of the UP Yoddha, announced himself to the world when he debuted in the 3rd season with Bengal Warriors, leading the team to the semi-final with 77 successful raids in the 10 appearances he made. The fiery Rishank Devadiga has been a force to be reckoned with, in U Mumba colours, and with experienced all-rounder Rajesh Narwal the team's raiding unit seems invincible.

The team will be mentored and coached by Udaya Kumar, a Dronacharya award winner, who led the Indian team to gold medals at the both the 2002 Asian Games and the 2006 Asian Games. Kumar has been coaching Telugu Titans in the PKL for three seasons and led the team to a 3rd place finish in season 3 and the playoffs in season 4. Kumar believes in a fast-paced and aggressive game and with a strong raiding unit, the team promises to put up a great show in the fifth edition of the league.

Weaknesses:

The biggest weakness of the team will be its defense. Other than Jeeva Kumar, no other defender that features in the team's lineup has played more than 15 PKL matches. Jeeva Kumar will be the key to UP's defense and if by chance, he suffers an injury during the tournament, the team will have to rely on inexperienced specialist defenders.  

Moreover, being a completely new unit, the team might struggle to find the winning combination at the start of their campaign and will have to quickly adapt to whatever proves beneficial for them.

You can watch the live stream here.

Fixtures:

1st August 21:00 Telugu Titans vs UP Yoddha

5th August 21:00 Bengaluru Bulls vs UP Yoddha 

6th August 20:00 Bengal Warriors vs UP Yoddha

12th August 20:00 Telugu Titans vs UP Yoddha

13th August 20:00 Patna Pirates vs UP Yoddha

18th August 20:00 UP Yoddha vs U Mumba

19th August 21:00 UP Yoddha vs Haryana Steelers 

20th August 21:00 UP Yoddha vs Jaipur Pink Panthers

22nd August 21:00 UP Yoddha vs Bengal Warriors

23rd August 21:00 UP Yoddha vs Tamil Thalivas

24th August 20:00 UP Yoddha vs Telugu Titans

29th August 21:00 Bengaluru Bulls vs UP Yoddha

2nd September 21:00 Bengal Warriors vs UP Yoddha

8th September 21:00 Gujarat Fortunegiants vs UP Yoddha

13th September 20:00 Tamil Thaliavas vs UP Yoddha

16th September 21:00 Patna Pirates vs UP Yoddha

21st September 21:00 Patna Pirates vs UP Yoddha

27th September 21:00 Dabang Delhi vs UP Yoddha

30th September 20:00 Puneri Paltan vs UP Yoddha

4th October 21:00 Tamil Thalivas vs UP Yoddha

15th October 20:00 Bengaluru Bulls vs UP Yoddha 

Ajay Kumar or Nilesh Salunke? Who will score more raid points

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Manjeet Chillar or Sandeep Narwal? Which all-rounder will have more points?

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