Pro Kabaddi League 2019: With Rahul Chaudhari-Ajay Thakur combo, Tamil Thalaivas hope to find success
Tamil Thalaivas made their PKL debut in season 5 and in their two seasons have not managed to reach the playoffs. They finished last in Zone B in both Season 5 and Season 6 and are the only team among the PKL 5 debutants not to qualify for the playoffs still. Ajay Thakur was chosen with the priority pick ahead of PKL 5 and he has been captain for both seasons. While they had a largely inexperienced team in season 5, they added names like Manjeet Chhillar, Sukesh Hegde and Jasvir Singh to the squad in PKL 6, but were still unable to make any impact.
Their defence remained a major weakness in both previous seasons. The lack of a consistent support raider for Ajay has also been a major issue for the team.
For PKL 7 they have added even more experience to the squad going for established names in the auction. Star raider Rahul Chaudhari was bought by the team for 95 lakhs creating a formidable raiding combination with Ajay Thakur. In Ajay and Rahul, Thalaivas have the second and the third highest raid point scorers of all time in PKL. They are the only raiding duo in PKL 7 where both raiders have crossed the 700 raid point mark. The two have combined to score 1557 raid points, with 64 Super 10s and 45 Super Raids between them.
Mohit Chhillar (240 tackle points, 4 th leading) has also been signed to complement Manjeet Chhillar in central defence. Veteran left corner Ran Singh (199 tackle points, 10 th leading) has also been signed by the team.
Manjeet is the top tackle point scorer in PKL with 302 tackle points. He is the only defender to have reached the 300-tackle-point mark. Mohit is also among the top 5 tackle point scorers in PKL history. He is 4 th with 240 tackle points.
With Ran Singh’s addition, Tamil Thalaivas have a third defender from the top 10 in their ranks. Ran Singh’s 199 tackle points in PKL is the 10 th most among all defenders.
Squad: Ajay Thakur, Manjeet Chhillar, Victor Onyango Obiero, Himanshu, M. Abhishek, Rahul Chaudhari, Ran Singh, Mohit Chhillar, Ajeet, Milad Sheibak, Shabeer Bapu, Yashwant Bishnoi, Vineet Sharma
Coach: Edachery Bhaskaran replaced K Baskaran as head coach of Tamil Thalaivas in season 6 and he will continue as coach for PKL 7. E. Bhaskaran was at the helm for U Mumba in the first five seasons of PKL and helped them to qualify for the playoffs in the first 3 seasons of PKL including their title win in season 2. In PKL 1 and PKL 3 they finished as runners-up. Known for his ability to get the best out of his players and for his calm approach, he will be leaning on his veterans this season to help guide Tamil Thalaivas to their first playoffs appearance.