Pro Kabaddi League 2023: Top 3 Solid Defenders to shine for Puneri Paltan in PKL 10
Both Puneri and Jaipur played the Final last year at the NSCI SVP Stadium in Mumbai with the Pink Panthers securing their 2nd PKL title thanks to a 4-point margin win. Paltan had a few things wrong in the final.
Main raider Aslam Inamdar was injured and remained out while the available raiders lost their nerves towards the closing minutes. At that time it was clear that Puneri needed some experience in their squad especially in the backline.
They excluded Fazel Atrachali during the retention and then made another Iranian signing of INR Mohammadreza Chiyaneh for 2.35 Crores. The All-Rounder will help both attack and defense but here are the 3 Defenders to watch out for in Pro Kabaddi League 2023.
1. Abhinesh Nadarajan: 26-year-old Right Cover Abhinesh Nadarajan is all set for his 3rd season with Puneri Paltan this year in PKL's 10th edition. The high powered defender has amassed 78 tackle points since his debut in Season 8.
One of his abilities is the way he uses his shoulders and arms to bash a raider out of the lobby. His Ankle Hold is pretty strong too and he will once again the main defender from the right side.
His stats in Season 8 were better than Season 9. He stood for 44 tackle points in 2021 including 6 Super tackles and 3 High 5s. In season 9, Nadarajan scored made 35 successful tackles with an bettered average of 2.27 tackles per match.
This season, Nadarajan will look to scale up his performance with his first objective being scoring at least 40 tackle points.
2. Sanket Sawant: Nadarajan's compatriot in Puneri's defense from last 2 seasons, Left cover Sanket Sawant will once again prove to be a key part of Head coach BC Ramesh's plans. Nadarajan and Sawant formed a dynamic duo last year sharing 65 tackle points between them.
And just like Nadarajan, Sawant is also a Bashing specialist whose efficiency will once again be required for seaon 10. In 24 matches last year, he earned a total of 30 points, all of them coming through tackles with a success rate of 34%.
Add Shadloui's defensive skills with Nadarajan and Sawant's duo, Puneri's back line is more formidable than ever.
3. Dadaso Shivaji Pujari: Last but not the least, Maharashtra born Right corner, debutant Dadaso Pujari is the 3rd Defender who we think can do well in PKL 10. Pujari is actually a player who has come through the ranks of Yuva Kabaddi Series, India's premier youth level Kabaddi tournament.
The 19-year-old featured in Krantijyot Mahila Pratishtan Yuva Kabaddi Series at Pune, representing Kolhapur district. In just 10 matches, Pujari scored 37 tackle points, including 3 Super tackles, 4 High 5s with a brilliant success rate of 49.28%, averaging 3.4 successful tackles per match.
Paltan's depth in defensive inforcements is just like incredible with youngsters like Gaurav Khatri, Vaibhav Kamble, Tushar Dattaray, Ishwar, Hardeep and Iran's Vahid Rezaeimehr.