The vivo Pro Kabaddi Season 8 saw some ordinary results for Jaipur Pink Panthers with 10 wins and as many losses in the league standings. However, the inaugural champions will be gearing up to regain their lost glory. With Arjun Deshwal and Ajith Kumar standing tall for the franchise, their domination looks well set for Season 9.
With this, we review how Jaipur Pink Panthers have shaped up for this season.
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An Illustrious Raiding Duo at the Helm
There’s no doubt that Arjun Deshwal will be the biggest face among the Panthers. The retained attacker gathered a mammoth 267 raid points last season. This made him the edition’s 2nd most successful raider. It included 6 Super Raids and 16 Super 10s. Partnering with him will be Ajith Kumar who had a memorable season with U Mumba last year. He played second-in-command to Abhishek Singh and on the way amassed 159 raid points. Ajith Kumar’s heroics were rewarded as Jaipur Pink Panthers shelled out ₹66 lakhs after a vigorous bidding to get him.
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The Showman Rahul Chaudhari too will be plying his trade in the pink jersey this time. He brings in a monumental experience and has close to 1000 (968) total raid points to his name. Boosting the raiding group will be Bhavani Rajput. He notched up 50 raid points playing for Tamil Thalaivas last year.
The Foreign Imports
Reza Mirbagheri’s name during the Player Auction ignited a fierce bid. The defender from Iran was eventually picked by Jaipur Pink Panthers for ₹26.80 lakhs. After making a name for himself in Iran’s 2019 Junior Kabaddi World Cup win, he will be the strongest contender for the left-cover position. South Korean national Woosan KO will be the team’s wild card as he too specializes as a left-cover defender. This will be his debut season at the vivo Pro Kabaddi.
The Formidable Defence
Sunil Kumar will be the biggest name in the defensive lineup. His strong resume includes 217 career tackle points spanning four seasons with Gujarat Giants. He’ll also be a crucial member of the leadership unit having been Gujarat Giants’ captain earlier. At ₹90 lakhs, Sunil Kumar is also the most expensive Indian defender for this edition.
At right-corner, Sahul Kumar played an impressive role for Jaipur Pink Panthers last season earning him retention. Another right-corner defender, Nitin Chandel was signed for ₹19.70 lakhs, up from his base price of ₹6 lakhs. Hailing from Himachal Pradesh, this will be his debut season in the league. Lucky Sharma, who plays for Services is the first player to feature from Jammu & Kashmir at the vivo Pro Kabaddi.
Having spent ₹4.368 crores of their available purse of ₹4.40 crores to build an 18-member squad, the management also went bold to not use any of their available FBM cards in the Player Auction. It’s been eight years since Jaipur Pink Panthers have laid their hands on the trophy; will this bunch of Panthers add another one to the cabinet?