With the triumvirate of Rahul Chaudhari, Ran Singh and Mohit Chhillar joining forces with the dynamic duo of Ajay Thakur and Manjeet Chhillar, there is no dearth of riches in the Thalaivas setup. The above-mentioned quintet is proficient enough to deliver five-star performances, which will put the Edachery Bhaskaran-coached side in good stead for a top six finish.
Once half-dozen teams crack the code, it will become a whole new ball game in the ‘Super Play-offs’. There is still a long way to go for that yet. It is a no-brainer that Ajay will take charge of the raiding department for a third year in succession. But for a change, a superstar will play the role of his deputy. Former Telugu Titans player Rahul will link-up with the national team skipper, a combination the local faithful are salivating at. Shabeer Bappu could join the pair in what is expected to be a three-pronged attack. Local lad V Ajith Kumar, Anand, Vineet Sharma and Yashwant Bishnoi might find appearances hard to come by. But if we go by what panned out in PKL 6, these players could have their moments in case of injuries to the mainstays. One area where the Tamil Nadu-based outfit could thrive is the defence, which looks lethal.
Having racked up plenty of points in the past editions, Manjeet, Mohit and Ran would hope to pile on more. Utility defenders are like gold dust in Pro Kabaddi and Thalaivas has two such gems – Manjeet and Ran – both of whom can be deployed in corner and cover positions. Milad Sheibak, who is behind Abozar Mohajermighani in the pecking order in Iran, is a useful corner specialist.
Coach Bhaskaran has pinned a lot of hopes on highly-rated Ajeet, who is likely to replace Ponparthiban Subramanian from last year’s starting seven. The latter failed to make a name for himself despite getting enough game-time. Kenyan all-rounder Victor Onyango Obiero will also have a part to play in PKL 7.
England cricket team, sporting a sky blue jersey, ended its 44-year World Cup title drought recently. Can Thalaivas overcome all obstacles in Pro Kabaddi 2019 in a similar coloured kit? One will have to wait for another three action-packed months.
Raiders: Ajay Thakur, Anand, Rahul Chaudhari, Shabeer Bappu, V Ajith Kumar, Vineet Sharma and Yashwant Bishnoi
All-rounders: Manjeet Chhillar, Ran Singh, Victor Onyango Obiero (Kenya) and Hemant Chauhan
Defenders: Mohit Chhillar, Ajeet, M Abishek, Ponparthiban Subramanian, Himanshu, Sagar and Milad Sheibak (Iran)