Ahead of the auctions, the Telugu Titans were one of the most talked-about teams as they released Siddharth Desai after buying him for a whopping sum of 1.45 crores in the 2019 PKL auction. In hindsight, the franchise’s decision has been justified as they bought the raider for a lesser price, 1.3 crores, in this auction. The amount allowed them to buy one more player and the lesser-known player could be the star of the franchise. We have seen in the previous seasons of the PKL how the unknown and reluctant players have become stars at the end of the season. Let’s have a look at how the Titans have built their squad in a bid to win their first-ever title.
The Titans have had lackluster returns in the past three seasons of the Pro Kabaddi League. They have finished second from bottom in each of the seasons and their last appearance in the play-off stages was in season 4. Ever since the league has expanded to 12 teams, the Titans have failed to qualify for the latter stages and this year the franchise will be aiming to reverse their fortunes.
In PKL 2019, the franchise was overdependent on Siddharth Desai in the raiding department. He was among the top 5 raiders of the tournament with 217 points in the season. However, the next best raider of the Titans, Rakesh Gowda, could only score 50 points. Gowda was the only elite retained player by the Telugu Titans ahead of this season’s auction.
On paper, the team has one of the best raiding departments. The franchise has bought/retained a coterie of raiders in the likes of Rajnish and Rohit Kumar to complement the talismanic Desai. The trio of raiders has a bellicose style and will be looking to up the ante on the mat.
Rohit Kumar’s leadership skills will be one of the strengths of this unit. He led the Bengaluru Bulls to their maiden title in the PKL 6 and that is a testament to his credentials as a captain.
With the addition of Sandeep Kandola and Ruturaj Koravi, the franchise has filled the void left after the release of Vishal Bhardwaj and Abozar Mohajermighani. The Indian-Iranian duo was the pillar of the franchise in the previous season. Kandola has been in exquisite form in the domestic circuit but it will be interesting to see how he fares in the PKL as he returns to the tournament for the first time in seven years.
A prime concern for the franchise will be cover defence as Surender Singh and C. Arun are impatient on the mat. The inability to execute tackles at crucial moments in a match has been a major shortcoming of their careers so far. Coach Jagadeesh Kumble will hope that the inexperienced defenders will not only outperform but also outsmart the opposition as they return to Pro Kabaddi after a couple of years.
The Telugu Titans have assembled one of the most balanced squads of the season. If the big names live up to the billing, a place in the playoffs is a certainty for the Titans.
Telugu Titans Squad: