Tamil Thalaivas’ performances ever since their entry in Pro Kabaddi in 2017 don’t inspire much confidence.
Two consecutive bottom-placed finishes are not something the Chennai-based side would be proud of, especially with Indian kabaddi captain Ajay Thakur leading their side.
Thakur has been the lone shining star in the team for the past two campaigns while the rest of his teammates have failed to live up to the billing.
Last season, they were the second-worst scoring team in the league – finishing bottom in Zone B with 42 points from 22 games that included a total of just five victories. Even with seasoned campaigners like Jasvir Singh and Manjeet Chillar, they lacked to gel well as a unit.
Now with some smart purchases and a strong raiding department that includes Rahul Chaudhari, they would feel they have enough firepower to bounce back from the disappointments of their past two seasons.
Past record for Tamil Thalaivas in Pro Kabaddi
|Season 5||Finished bottom of Zone B in league phase|
|Season 6||Finished bottom of Zone B in league phase|
Thalaivas released all their players except captain Thakur, Manjeet Chillar and Victor Onyango Obiero. Given the burden of scoring points on the raids fell almost entirely on Thakur last season, they acquired some fine raiders in the form of Rahul Chaudhari (Rs 94 lakhs) and Shabeer Bapu (Rs 10 lakhs). The addition of all-rounder Ran Singh (Rs 55 lakhs) also greatly adds to the quality options in the side.
After six long years with the Telugu Titans, Chaudhari is set to play alongside Thakur for the first time in Pro Kabaddi. The presence of two top-quality raiders in their ranks makes the Thalaivas a team to fear.
Chaudhari tops the overall raid points charts with a total of 876 points so far and given the way he has single-handedly won games to the Titans in the past, his presence will ease the pressure on Thakur who can focus on leading the side.
While the Thailavas have bolstered their squad, most of their players have been on a decline in terms of form. They roped in Mohit Chillar for a big amount (Rs 45 lakhs), but his performances over the last two seasons have been disappointing. He was dropped to the B category in domestic players in the 2019 auctions. Manjeet Chillar was the top-scoring defender for the side last season and showed glimpses of his destructive self, but he’s another player is who seems to be past his prime. If some of Thalaivas’ experienced heads are able to roll back the years, they’ll be as good as anybody, but otherwise, they could have a tough season defensively.
Edachary Baskaran will continue leading the side for the second season running. Having previously guided U Mumba to three finals in the first three seasons, Bhaskaran comes with a lot of reputation. A former India coach, Bhaskaran likes to pack his team with experienced players. Just like his U Mumba team, his Tamil Thalaivas side has several seasoned campaigners and he will be hoping they deliver similar results. Mohit Chhillar and Shabeer Bapu played their best kabaddi under Bhaskaran. The former U Mumba coach would have plans to revive their fading careers.
Player to watch: Rahul Chaudhari
No guesses for this one. A dynamic raider with a great eye for points. His ability to raid on both sides of the mat makes him very difficult to read for opposition defenders. In the six seasons so far, the 26-year-old has finished among the top five raiders in five seasons – a record matched by no other player.
Raiders: Ajay Thakur, Rahul Chaudhari, Shabeer Bappu, Ajeet, V Ajith Kumar, Vineet Sharma, Yashwant Bishnoi
Defenders: Himanshu, M. Abhishek, Mohit Chillar, Ponparthiban Subramanian, Ajeet, Sagar, Milad Sheibak
All Rounders: Manjeet Chhillar, Victor Onyango Obiero, Ran Singh, Hemant Chauhan
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