The Pro Kabaddi League’s fifth edition is going to be bigger and better than ever before. With four new teams coming into the fold, the league will witness a total of twelve sides from eleven states gunning for glory. With the first match scheduled to take place on the 28th of July, this season is going to be stretched for a period of 90 days! And with the season nearly upon us, today’s team in focus is the Bengal Warriors, owned by the Future Group head honcho Kishore Biyani. The team has not had a record worthy of boasting. However, they have revamped the side with some really good buys at the auctions held in May. Previously, the Warriors had a poor seventh place finish in the inaugural season, followed by a one-place improvement in the second. Their best performance came forth in the third season where they made the cut to the playoffs but failed to progress on to the finals. The fourth season was particularly disappointing for the franchise and the fans, with the team languishing at the bottom of the table. Thus, this time around, with an entirely new core team in place, the Warriors will be looking to turn the tide of history and make some really good advances towards claiming the coveted crown. Sportskeeda thus looks at five reasons which can give Bengal Warriors an edge above the other teams and help them go the distance in Pro Kabaddi Season 5
#1 The presence of a new skipper Surjeet Singh
The man from the Services was bought at an expensive price tag of Rs. 73 lakhs by the Bengal think tank, and he will be keen to prove his worth in the upcoming season. One of the best cover defenders, the former U Mumba recruit has been named as the captain of the team and will look to lead by example. A stalwart in the defence, the block is the key weapon in Surjeet’s arsenal which he will optimise to effect with his sense of perfect timing. Also, his humble nature and young mind will ensure that Surjeet is an able leader on the mat, who will marshal his troops in the best possible manner to get the positive results.
#2 A new approach under a new coach
The Bengal Warriors not only refurbished their team in terms of players but have also sought the able services of a new coach Jagadeesh Kumble. He comes in place of former gaffer Pratap Shetty who was with the team for the last two season. Kumble, a man from the Army, is a young coach as compared to the others and will hope to extract the best out of his players given his past experience of playing in the league for the Jaipur Pink Panthers in the capacity of an able defender.
#3 Retaining Jang Kun Lee
The franchise showcased their trust in the South Korean raider, retaining him ahead of the all important player auctions. Jang Kun Lee is one of the only four players in the league to play for the same team since the inception of PKL, and thus his loyalty and unique identity amongst the fans will possibly bolster his performance in the fifth edition. With 243 raid points off his 51 appearances, Lee is surely a force to reckon with when it comes to rival defenders. The Warriors’ star exuded much confidence while speaking about the team’s chances, “We are all a passionate bunch of people and we will play as a team. We have a strong squad this season and we certainly have the ability to win the title as well.”
#4: An influx of all-rounders
The team has a host of all-rounders to rely on this season, thus achieving an equitable balance when it comes to attacking as well defence. Leading the pack of all-rounders, is vice-captain Ran Singh, one of the most experienced players in the squad. Under his aegis, there are quite a few young guns who will look for adequate playing opportunities to showcase their worth in the likes of Bhupender Singh, Shrikanth Tewthia, Ravindra Kumavat and Vikash; with the first two having considerable PKL experience.
#5 Eagerness to prove a point
Their poor show over the last few seasons has not particularly brought them good repute and has placed them in a position where they are not touted amongst the teams that pose a real challenge for the title.