The Chennai-based side have a strong line-up ahead of the new season, after they made some shrewd buys in the auction and placed their faith in youth players. For their priority pick, they chose veteran raider Ajay Thakur, who has played in the league for the Bengaluru Bulls and Puneri Paltan, and was the star for the Indian team in their World Cup winning campaign last year.
He brings tons of experience and star power to the lineup and is expected to lead the side once the season begins. Their most expensive buy in the auction was young defender Amit Hooda for Rs 63 lakh. The 21-year-old was the subject of interest from teams across the auction room but it was the Tamil Nadu side that ultimately snagged him.
The other key players in the team are defender Anil Kumar, who was bought for Rs 25.50 lakhs and C. Arun, the former Bengal Warriors man, whose services were purchased for Rs 33 lakh.
The Kolkata team has been perennially dogged by the ‘talent without execution’ tag, and this season, after retaining star Korean raider Jang Kun Lee, got rid of their BPCL boys, defenders Nilesh Shinde and Vishal Mane. They will miss Shinde’s on-court calm, although they have got the super-fit Services man Surjeet Singh (Anup’s trusted defender last season) to man their defence. For the first time, the Warriors’ raiding could make more news, thanks to Lee and the spunky Ran Singh. On paper though, they still don’t seem like they have answered the question – who will step up if Lee has an off-day?
Team Uttar Pradesh
The yet to be named franchise of the GMR Group has made news for breaking their piggy bank to buy Nitin Tomar, the most expensive Pro Kabaddi player now. Along with U Mumba fame Rishank Devadiga (who had a tepid last season), their raiding seems formidable but there is nobody of note in the other department. SBI Mysore man Jeeva Kumar is high on experience and might, but has regularly fumbled in his cover position. UP have invested in youth too though, and will hope the month before the league begins, makes them a confident unit.