Bengal Warriors had a dream run in vivo Pro Kabaddi Season 7, where they secured 14 wins in 22 matches in the league stage before running through the opponents in the Playoffs to win the title. As defending champions, the fans’ expectations from the team will be high ahead of the next season.
After some key retentions, they managed to strengthen the weak links in their team to add even more balance to the side. Let’s look at how the Bengal Warriors squad has shaped up ahead of Season 8.
Title winning core retained
Since the big match players from Bengal Warriors performed at a high level in Season 7, the team retained them in the squad ahead of the player auction. Lead raider and captain Maninder Singh was one of the names on their Elite Retained Players list. The raider has been the side’s top raider since Season 5 and they persevered with the experienced campaigner in the next one as well.
Iranian Mohammad Esmail Nabibakhsh was another big retention. Leading the side in the final and emerging as their top scorer in the game was enough to keep the talented all-rounders among the team’s Elite Retained Players. Corner Rinku Narwal and raider Ravindra Ramesh Kumawat were the others retained by the team.
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Iranian zest in defence
Corner Rinku Narwal, who was the team’s second-most successful defender in Season 7, will be joined in defence by Iranian Abozar Mohajermighani defence. Though Abozar didn’t feature among the top 10 defenders in Season 7, his figures in the league speak for themselves. The Corner has 7 High 5s and 13 Super Tackles to his name, and is only 40 tackle points shy of becoming only the second overseas defender to reach 200 tackle points in the league.
He is behind only ‘Sultan’ Fazel Atrachali in the list of the league’s most prominent overseas defenders and even managed to eclipse Atrachali in Season 5 when they both played for Gujarat Giants.
Rinku had formed a successful partnership with Back Hold specialist Baldev Singh in the previous season. It will be interesting to see how the dynamics between him and Abozar, who relies more on Thigh Holds, pan out in the coming season.
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Plenty of support for Maninder Singh
Apart from retaining Ravindra Ramesh Kumawat, who scored 6 crucial raid points in the Season 7 final, Bengal Warriors also picked up Rishank Devadiga. Devadiga was an integral part of the U.P. Yoddha team for the last 3 seasons and has even led the side in Season 6. His addition to the squad also gives the team additional leadership options.
Maninder’s brute strength and Devadiga’s speed could complement each other well to keep opposition defenders on their toes. Devadiga replaces K. Prapanjan and both raiders are known for making good use of their reach. Prapanjan had formed a good raiding pair with Maninder in the previous season and Devadiga will look to do the same going forward.
As Nabibakhsh has already shown his proficiency in raiding, Bengal Warriors will have a three-pronged attack with three very different kinds of raiders. They also have a trump up their sleeves in Sukesh Hegde who the team used their Final Bid Match card to retain. Though the raider played just 16 matches for the team in Season 7, he was behind only Maninder in the Do-or-Die raid points scored for the team, making him a key member of the squad.
vivo Pro Kabaddi Season 8 starts 22 December, 2021. Catch all the LIVE action on the Star Sports Network and on Disney+Hotstar and follow Pro Kabaddi on Instagram, Facebook & Twitter for all the latest updates!