*This content was originally written by SARTHAK S KARKHANIS*
When the Pro Kabaddi League auction started, the eyes were on the auction table of the Patna Pirates for myriad reasons. The most successful franchise in history is bound to grab more eyeballs than the other teams. Especially, when you haven’t retained the poster boy of the team and the league- Pardeep Narwal.
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Pardeep’s release left a void in the 3-time champions and he was sold for INR 1.65 crores. Due to the expensive price tag, the Pirates decided not to use the Final Bid Match(FBM) card.
Due to the inexperience of the retained players, the Pirates had to do a lot of work on the auction table. The franchise hasn’t qualified for the playoffs in the last two seasons after winning three titles on the trot.
Patna’s performance on the auction table was a mixed bag. While they have put together an exemplary line-up of raiders, the defenders aren’t as strong and might hurt them on the mat.
The Pirates have depth with raiders like Sachin Tanwar and Prashant Kumar Rai. The duo was bought for 84 lakh and 55 lakh respectively. Tanwar was in the top 10 list of raiders in season 6 but in the previous season, he scored just 91 points with the Gujarat Giants. The Patna owners have shown their faith in the young raider.
Experienced raiders Monu Goyat and Jang-Kun lee will play a key role in the franchise. Goyat will be making a comeback to the team after a couple of seasons. Lee was a part of the squad in the 2019 season and was prominently used by the team in the second half.
Mohammadreza Shadloui Chiyaneh was the costliest foreign player of the auction as he was bought for 31 lakhs. He will be the star all-rounder of the men in green.
Much like the previous season, the defense is a weak link of the 3-time champions. On paper, they have just five specialist defenders in their squad which is a cause of worry. Moreover, none of the defenders has established themselves in the Pro Kabaddi League. It won't be startling if the inexperience in that department might hurt the Pirates in the upcoming season.
Neeraj Kumar was the best defender of the Patna-based team in the 2019 PKL, was retained and will be the leader of the defensive group.
The defense will be the major impediment for the Pirates in this season. After their below-par performance on the auction table, their chances of qualifying for the playoffs look bleak.
Full Squad of Patna Pirates for PKL Season 8:
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