All-Time Playing 7 of Puneri Paltan: One of the Most Star Studded Franchises in PKL
Puneri Paltan has been the underachiever of the Pro Kabaddi League as despite having a stellar unit in the last few seasons, the Pune-based franchise has not made it big in the league. The Paltan entirely relied on Wazir Singh during the first two seasons. However, the team management signed match-winners like Manjeet Chhillar and Ajay Thakur in the next season, who turned around Pune’s fortunes.
Talking about their Pro Kabaddi League performance so far, Puneri Paltan recorded only four wins in the first two seasons. The team finished third in the third edition, while it slipped to the fourth spot in the subsequent season. Puneri Paltan dominated Zone A in season five as they finished second in their zone. However, they could not reach the finals of the competition.
In the last two Pro Kabaddi seasons, Pune has not qualified for the second round. Many big names have been a part of this franchise over the previous seven seasons, and here’s a look at their all-time seven.
Deepak Niwas Hooda is the prime pick for this all-time seven. The Indian all-rounder is a part of Jaipur Pink Panthers right now, but he represented Pune in three seasons. After starring for Telugu Titans, Deepak joined Pune in the third season. He scored 367 raid points and 25 tackle points for the team. It is worth noting that Puneri Paltan’s all playoff appearances came when Deepak Hooda was a part of the squad, which shows the all-rounder’s impact on the team.
Girish Ernak takes up the left corner position in the all-time seven. The former Patna Pirates joined Puneri Paltan in season five and is still a part of the team. Girish has scored 10 High 5s for the team in three seasons. His total tackle points for Puneri Paltan are 154, while he has also executed ten super tackles for the team.
Wazir Singh deserves a spot in this all-time seven because when no player of the squad was performing well, Wazir alone troubled the other teams. Pune suffered a few lopsided losses in the first two seasons, but Singh’s performances ensured that the Paltan at least gave the opposition team a run for its money. Wazir scored 104 raid points in the inaugural edition, while he added 65 more raid points to his kitty in the subsequent season. The veteran raider recorded 6 Super 10s and executed four super raids for the team.
There are three candidates for the final spot available in the raiding unit - Manjeet, Nitin Tomar, and Ajay Thakur. Manjeet recently joined the team and ended season seven as Puneri Paltan’s most successful raider. The all-rounder scored 151 points in 22 games, and only 28 of them came through his tackling skills.
Nitin Tomar has played three seasons for the team. However, his injury issues have not allowed him to play regularly for Pune. The 2016 Kabaddi World Cup winner was in red-hot form in the sixth season as he aggregated 102 points in only 11 matches. His season four and season seven performances were not so satisfactory.
Ajay Thakur shone for Bengaluru Bulls in the first two seasons. After moving to Puneri Paltan, he could not score so consistently as Thakur managed only a couple of Super 10s in two seasons. He only managed to aggregate 115 raid points in 30 matches, which is seven less than what he scored for the Bulls in the first season.
Comparing the three players' numbers and performance, Nitin Tomar takes the spot available in the all-time seven. Manjeet has played only one season while Thakur has performed way better for the other franchises he has played for in PKL.
Shifting our focus to the defense now, Manjeet Chhillar is the obvious pick for the left cover position. He was the best defender of Pro Kabaddi League season 3, scoring 61 tackle points in 15 games for Puneri Paltan. Besides, he also scored 44 tackle points in the fourth season.
PO Surjeet Singh will complete the cover combination. The current Puneri Paltan skipper has been a part of the side in two seasons, scoring 12 High 5s. In 33 matches, Surjeet has amassed 111 tackle points in the Pune jersey.
There’s a clash between Sandeep Narwal and Ravinder Pahal for the right corner spot. Pahal played only a solitary season for Pune, but he scored 37 tackle points, including 3 High 5s. Sandeep played a couple of seasons for the Paltan, scoring 93 tackle points in 39 matches. Since Narwal can also give another raiding option in this all-time seven, he pips Pahal in this race.
Playing Seven Stats for Puneri Paltan
Left Corner - Girish Ernak
Matches - 57, Tackle Points - 154
Left In - Wazir Singh
Matches - 23, Raid Points - 169
Left Cover - Manjeet Chhillar
Matches - 27, Total Points - 174, Tackle Points - 105
Center - Deepak Niwas Hooda
Matches - 52, Total Points - 392, Raid Points - 367
Right Cover - PO Surjeet Singh
Matches - 33, Tackle Points - 111
Right In - Nitin Tomar
Matches - 38, Raid Points - 198
Right Corner - Sandeep Narwal
Matches - 39, Tackle Points - 93
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