Lack of Depth in Raiding the Major Reason for the Downfall of Giants
Manpreet Singh scripted a beautiful start for the Gujarat Fortunegiants on their entry into the Pro Kabaddi League in PKL 5 — built a team of underdogs and made match winners out of them.
Gujarat finished on top of the table in Season 5 powered by two Iranian corners and Manpreet’s young guns — Sunil Kumar Gulia, Parvesh Bhainswal and Sachin Tanwar. They went on to play the finals in their first seasons, but a force of nature called Pardeep Narwal blew them away at the last hurdle.
Season 6 — This time Manpreet was even more confident. He retains just Sunil, Parvesh and Sachin; the Iranians become a costly affair, so he chooses young corners from the domestic circuit — Ruturaj Koravi and Sachin Vittala. Again, the story unfolds much like Season 5! Gujarat finish top of table and reach the finals easily; and this time another freak force of nature called Pawan Sehrawat snatches the championship from them.
Manpreet has one plan - retain the core of Sachin Tanwar, Sunil Kumar and Parvesh Bhainswal and build a squad around them.
Season 7- Manpreet comes in with the same plan — retains the core of Sunil, Parvesh and Sachin & builds a squad around them. But, the plan did not work out as well he would have liked. First, every single person in the auction room was aware of the plan —the first bid for Parvesh Bhainswal was put in by Telugu Titans at a whopping 70 Lakhs! Bidding closed at 75 Lakhs and Gujarat used their Right To Match card to retain him. Manpreet had got his core once again, but they had become a little too pricey! The rest of the squad had to be built with bits and pieces players, and no big names. Gujarat looked a little shaky on paper, but there was always the possibility of Manpreet grooming a couple of unexpected youngsters looming.
Sure enough, they surprised everyone coming into PKL7. They flagged off the season with an 18 point revenge win against the Bulls, followed by a 25 point flogging of UP Yoddha, and followed this with a neat win against Delhi. But that’s where the story takes a turn. 6 straight defeats, just 2 wins in 14 matches and placed a lowly 10th on the points table. What happened?
Sachin’s Failure and Sudden Dip in Form
In PKL5, Sachin was a newbie and still scored >7 points every game. He was brilliant in PKL6 scoring >9 points every game. When Gujarat built its squad, this was the expectation again, however he has been able to score only around 5.5 points per match in PKL7. Sachin’s effectiveness has dramatically dropped. Sachin scored 162 raid points in PKL5 and was tackled 78 times, so his effective points is 84 points and effectiveness % calculated as 84/162 = 51%.
Sachin’s effectiveness had dramatically dropped from 61% in PKL6 to 35% in PKL7
Sachin has scored 3 points fewer every game, stayed on bench for longer and been far less effective
His effectiveness soared in PKL6 to 61%, however in PKL7 it has been a lowly 35%. In PKL7, he gets caught twice before he scores a point on average. Sachin has in fact been detrimental to Gujarat Fortunegiants in PKL7. This surprising dip in form can be only explained if he’s carrying a significant injury — we’ll have to wait for the Fortunegiants to confirm or the fact that there’s a little predictability involved with no real bursts of speed on the turn.
Jai-Veeru downhill slide
PKL5 was a great platform for Parvesh and Sunil; with Fazel Athrachali and Abozar Mighani forcing discipline from the corners, the young duo could slowly find their feet and thrive. They proved just this when they did what no covers have done before guiding their young PKL6 squad to the finals. But there seems to be disharmony in the defence of late.
Tackle Story : Parvesh and Sunil were attempting around 3 tackles per match in PKL5, this peaked to 6 tackles per match in PKL6. However in PKL7 they have been attempting only around 5 tackle per match (remember they don’t have defenders like Fazel and Abozar to compensate in PKL7). To make things worse, both Sunil and Parvesh had a freakishly high conversion of 2 successes in 3 tackles in PKL5 and 6. This has dropped to 50% — 1 successful tackle for every 2 attempts. That means together they were averaging around 6 tackle points per match and that has now dropped to just 4 tackle points per match.
A fall in form of covers Sunil and Parves, without strong corner support has led to a team failure.
2. A Support System is lacking : Gujarat is known as a defensive powerhouse because their defenders come together like a flower blooming and had that seamless cohesiveness. The coordination and assists amongst defenders has again come down a notch in PKL7 from 3 to 2 assists every match.
Lack of Depth in Raiding and Failure of Lead Raider Major Reasons for the Downfall of Giants
It is the raiding that has gone haywire this season for Giants, the defense a little less. Although Gujarat has nurtured the young trio of Sachin, Sunil and Parvesh — success has made them impossible to retain. They will have to let go, to regain supremacy!
Raiders have failed the Giants in PKL7 scoring about 100 points fewer than they needed to!
In PKL 5, Sachin took on the role of lead raider and scored 150+ points with significant support from Sukesh & Mahendra Ganesh Rajput while Rohit Gulia played as an impact raider, notably picking up bonus points with ease. Prapanjan then played this support role to perfection in PKL6. But there’s been no proper 2nd raider in PKL7 and in fact no raider has taken responsibility of being the lead raider. Rohit Gulia is putting himself forward for a lot more raids; that has however reduced the surprise element he brings and therefore the effectiveness. Sachin is sadly also only a mere shadow of his former self and as a result, the raiding points are drying up from multiple sources.
It is the raiding that has gone haywire this season for the Fortunegiants, the defence perhaps a little less. Although Gujarat has nurtured the young trio of Sachin, Sunil and Parvesh — their lack of success at the prices they come in at, has perhaps made them impossible to retain. Looking ahead, the mighty Giants might have to let go of “their boys”, to regain supremacy!