CHENNAI: The Chennai Blitz management had no choice but to make some tough decisions after the team’s underwhelming show in the inaugural edition of the Prime Volleyball League earlier this year.
Disappointed with the sixth-place finish in PVL Season 1, the Chennai franchise has made moves ahead of the next player auction. Blitz has let go of veteran setter Mohan Ukkrapandian, who could not lead from the front as a captain in Prime Volleyball 2022. The franchise has also parted ways with head coach Chander Singh and will accelerate the support staff recruitment process in a few months.
Blitz is heading in a new direction and hence the changes, according to chief technical officer Thulasi Reddy. “We received lots of feedback after last season and held many discussions within the management. We are planning to go for young faces next season,” Reddy told DT Next. The Chennai team was packed with experienced campaigners, who failed to get the job done in the first edition.
On hiring a new chief coach, Reddy said: “We still have time. We will hold a management meeting and then decide [on who the right man is]. Depending on the head coach’s inputs, we will devise a strategy and pick players accordingly at the auction. We are confident of turning things around in the upcoming season.”
Akhin, Naveen and Prashant retained
Middle blocker GS Akhin, attacker Naveen Raja Jacob and setter Pinamma Prashant – who showed flashes of brilliance in an otherwise disappointing Season 1 for Chennai – have been retained. The tournament organiser had announced that each franchise could keep hold of a maximum of three players.
“Prashant played well in the final two matches of the previous season. He is a young setter. We have pinned a lot of hopes on him. Naveen is a key member of our team. He did well last season, but made some technical mistakes. We analysed his performances and felt that he is good [enough to be retained]. Akhin also played well,” explained Reddy.
“We already have two experienced players (Naveen and Akhin). At the time of the auction, we will add two foreigners to the squad. Apart from that, we are looking at new faces. There are many talented players in states such as Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. We are planning to build a youthful team,” said Reddy.