Bengal Warriors Pro Kabaddi League Season 7: Bengal Warriors have been the perennial under-achievers in the Pro Kabaddi League. However, the Kolkata-based outfit has continually been improving with each passing season, from having hit rock bottom in Season 4 to entering the playoffs in two consecutive seasons Season 5 and Season 6, Bengal Warriors have established themselves among the top sides in the league.
What Warriors did in Season 6?
Bengal Warriors finished at the second position in Zone B. Though they made it to the playoffs in Season 6, but looked somewhat lost throughout the tournament, and they eventually tasted defeat at the hands of Dabang Delhi in the eliminator.
How Did the Auctions go for Bengal Warriors?
Bengal Warriors pulled a rabbit out of the hat ahead of the auctions as they opted to retain the services of Maninder Singh along with young stars such as Ravindra Ramesh Kumawat, Baldev Singh and Adarsh T. Warriors however, decided to release their superstars Jang Kun Lee and skipper Surjeet Singh from the squad which came as a surprise to many.
In the auctions, the Warriors were all over the headlines right from the beginning as they landed the second costliest foreign player in the history of the league with ₹77.75 lakhs bid for Iranian all-rounder Mohammad Esmaeil Nabibakhsh. Warriors followed it up by signing his Iranian compatriot Mohammad Taghi for ₹15.5 lakhs.
After making the reinforcements in the raiding department, Warriors soon shifted the focus on adding might to the defensive unit. Warriors signed up veteran defender Jeeva Kumar for ₹31 lakhs in the process and added another exciting corner defender Rinku Narwal for ₹20 lakhs to their roster. The Warriors also procured the services of seasoned raider K Prapanjan for ₹55.5 lakhs as a final incentive to beef up the raiding unit.
The Warriors looked aggressive in the auctions as they signed AR Avinash, Amit Dhumal, and Dharmendra Singh for ₹10 lakhs each. Warriors used their ‘Final Bid Match’ cards on retaining the services of Rakesh Narwal for ₹16.25 lakhs while also adding Amit to their roster by shelling out ₹17.5 lakhs for the player.
Warriors signed Sukesh Hegde for ₹20 lakhs and Viraj Vishnu Landge for ₹10 lakhs from the unsold player’s list. Young Bhuvneshwar Gaur’s display of skills in crucial moments for the Steelers last season earned him a contract worth ₹10 lakhs with Bengal Warriors.
A sturdy raiding unit including Maninder Singh, K Prapanjan and Sukesh Hegde, is looking to dominate the league. The raiding department of Bengal Warriors looks even mightier with the addition of Iranian import Nabibakhsh and ‘FBM’ signee Rakesh Narwal.
The lack of reliable and experienced defenders and weak bench strength in the defensive department is the biggest weakness of the Kolkata-based franchise in Season 7. While any injury to the lead defenders will mount another issue on the whole for the Warriors team management.
How are Bengal Warriors Looking?
Warriors made the right decision by retaining Maninder Singh, their MVP since the last two seasons. They further added the emerging K Prapanjan to the equation to help Maninder, but it is a massive gamble as Prapanjan couldn’t live up to his potential at Gujarat Fortunegiants, often choking in crunch times. The inclusion of Iran’s star defender Mohammad Nabibakhsh is a step in the right direction, but he lacks support in what will be his debut Pro Kabaddi League season.
What Can be Expected from Bengal Warriors in Season 7?
While Bengal Warriors have assembled one of the best raiding attacks in the league but due to a weak defense, their prospects of making to the playoffs don’t look much brighter.
Players to Watch out for
Jeeva Kumar: Bengal Warriors have strengthened their defense unit with the recruitment of veteran defender, Jeeva Kumar in the side. The dash specialist from Karnataka is capable of defending from both cover positions, and his efficiency will be a crucial feature to look out for.
Maninder Singh: After winning the inaugural season of the Pro Kabaddi League with the Jaipur Pink Panthers, Maninder Singh made a splendid return to the league after a gap of three seasons. In the 59 Pro Kabaddi games, Maninder has aggregated 526 raid points at a fabulous average of 8.91. The ace raider has 23 Super 10s against his name, and once again he will be the ‘X-factor’ for the Warriors in the upcoming season.
Bengal Warriors full Squad
Raiders: Maninder Singh, Ravindra Ramesh Kumawat, Mohammad Taghi, K Prapanjan, Sukesh Hegde, Amit Kumar, Rakesh Narwal, and Bhuvneshwar Gaur.
All-Rounders: Mohammad Esmaeil Nabibakhsh, Amir Santosh Dhumal, and AR Avinash,
Defenders: Jeeva Kumar, Baldev Singh, Adarsh T, Viraj Landge, Rinku Narwal, Vijin Thangadurai, Dharmendra Singh, and Sahil (NYP).
Probable Starting 7 for Bengal Warriors in Season 7
Baldev Singh (Right Corner), K. Prapanjan (Right In), Jeeva Kumar (Right Cover), Mohammad Nabibakhsh (Center), Viraj Vishnu Langde (Left Cover), Maninder Singh (Left In) and Rinku Narwal (Left Corner)