Haryana Steelers are yet to feature as finalists of vivo Pro Kabaddi let alone be one of the six teams that are yet to be crowned champions. In the previous season, the Dhakad Boys missed a berth for the eliminators by just two points as they eventually had to settle for the seventh spot in the league stage points table. This is something they would be looking to change in the ninth edition. In the Player Auction, Haryana Steelers spent ₹3.756 crores from a purse of ₹4.40 crores, the least by any team. On that note, here’s how the Season 9 team looks for the Steelers.
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The Manjeet – Vinay Duo
Haryana Steelers went all out in the bid to get Manjeet. He was clinched for ₹80 lakhs. The local hero had a remarkable run with Tamil Thalaivas last season netting 6 Super 10s and 5 Super Raids. Vinay will be the other key raider to watch out for as the management retained him as the enigmatic raider secured 51 raid points despite playing just 15 games last season; not to forget a whopping 125 raid points the season before.
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The team didn’t shy away from getting promising raiders in the Player Auction to build an offensive unit having retained only Vinay and Meetu. Meetu’s form after bagging the bronze medal in the 69th Senior National Championship for Haryana will be crucial for the team.
A veteran since Season 2 and two-time PKL-winning player, K. Prapanjan brings in immense experience. Also, to watch out for would be Rakesh Narwal who like K. Prapanjan has played in the league every season since the second edition. The team used their FBM to keep the Iranian Mohammad Esmaeil Maghsodlou on the roster.
Nitin Rawal who specializes as the left corner was picked for ₹37.50 lakhs. The all-rounder featured for Jaipur Pink Panthers in the previous four seasons.
Keeping Defence Intact
Haryana Steelers had retained as many as seven defenders in their unit. Of these, Naveen, Monu Sunny Sehrawat and Harsh feature as NYPs (New Young Players). Mohit, after a remarkable previous season in which he scored 42 tackle points is likely to remain as first choice pick at right cover. Jaideep at the left cover seems a certainty as he claimed 5 High 5s and 5 Super Tackles for the franchise last edition.
All eyes will be on Amirhossein Bastami from Iran who was the most expensive player on Day 1 of the Player Auction. At ₹65.10 lakhs, he is now the third-most expensive overseas player of the vivo Pro Kabaddi Season 9. He was a key figure in Iran securing the 2019 World Junior Kabaddi Championship title.
With Manpreet Singh as the team’s new head coach, will we see a change in fortunes for the Steelers?
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