Pro Kabaddi 2022 is scheduled to begin on October 7, with 12 teams competing against each other to win the coveted championship. The ninth edition of PKL will take place in three cities, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Pune.
Like every season, the defensive unit of the teams will play an important role in this year’s Pro Kabaddi League. A team can have the strongest raiding unit, but if the defense is not strong, that team might not be able to win matches consistently.
Here’s a look at the predicted quartet of defenders for every team in Pro Kabaddi 2022.
#1 Puneri Paltan
Puneri Paltan retained their right corner defender Sombir ahead of the PKL 2022 Auction. The team’s most expensive signing Fazel Atrachali is likely to play as the left corner.
Pune also retained their cover duo of Abinesh Nadarajan and Sanket Sawant. Hence, the team management may not have to think much while picking the defenders.
#2 Bengaluru Bulls
Former champions Bengaluru Bulls have also retained a majority of their defenders from the previous season.
#3 U Mumba
Season two winners U Mumba do not have an experienced defensive unit. Retained player Rinku will continue as right corner, but Fazel Atrachali is not part of U Mumba this year.
New defender Kiran Magar is likely to take the left corner position, while Surinder Singh and Harender Kumar may start as the cover defenders.
#4 Patna Pirates
Like Bengaluru Bulls and Puneri Paltan, Patna Pirates’ defensive lineup for Pro Kabaddi 2022 will likely be identical to the previous season.
Sunil Narwal and Mohammadreza Chiyaneh will continue as corner defenders, joined by Neeraj Kumar and Sajin C as the two cover defenders.
#5 UP Yoddhas
UP Yoddhas are another franchise that have shown faith in their previous season’s defensive combination. Corner defenders Nitesh Kumar and Sumit were retained for Pro Kabaddi 2022.
Right cover Ashu Singh and his cover partner Gurdeep are a part of the Uttar Pradesh-based franchise as well.
#6 Jaipur Pink Panthers
Inaugural champions Jaipur Pink Panthers will have a new-look defense in Pro Kabaddi 2022. They only retained right corner Sahul Kumar from their previous season’s defensive unit.
Former Gujarat Giants captain Sunil Kumar will likely play as right cover for Jaipur this year, with Iranian player Reza Mirbhageri being his partner. Young defender Ankush Rathee might start as left corner for Jaipur.
#7 Dabang Delhi KC
Defending champions Dabang Delhi KC let go of their experienced defenders who helped them win PKL 8. The Delhi-based franchise roped in former Jaipur Pink Panthers defenders Amit Hooda and Sandeep Dhull for the two corner positions.
Ravi Kumar and Vishal Lather are likely to start as the two cover defenders for Delhi in Pro Kabaddi 2022.
#8 Haryana Steelers
Haryana Steelers retained their two cover defenders – Mohit Nandal and Jaideep Dahiya – from the previous season. But they will have a new corner pair for Pro Kabaddi 2022.
Veteran defender Joginder Narwal will likely form a pair with new Iranian player Amirhossein Bastami in the corner defense of Haryana.
#9 Gujarat Giants
Two-time runners-up Gujarat Giants have revamped their defense ahead of Pro Kabaddi 2022. They released their star cover duo of Parvesh Bhainswal and Sunil Kumar.
Young Chang Ko and Ujjwal Singh may take the right cover and left cover positions in the Gujarat lineup, with seasoned pros Baldev Singh and Rinku Narwal completing the corner defense.
#10 Bengal Warriors
Former Pro Kabaddi League winners Bengal Warriors roped in veteran defender Surender Nada to bolster their corner defense. Nada will likely play as the left corner, with Shubham Shinde being the right corner.
All-rounder Ashish Sangwan and former Gujarat Giants defender Soleiman Pahlevani may complete the defensive lineup as the two cover defenders.
#11 Telugu Titans
Telugu Titans have one of the mightiest defensive lineups in Pro Kabaddi 2022. The Titans released almost all of their defenders from last season and invested their funds in signing right cover defender Surjeet Singh, left cover Parvesh Bhainswal, right corner Ravinder Pahal and left corner Vishal Bhardwaj.
All four defenders have a fantastic record in PKL, making the Telugu Titans one of the favorites to win Pro Kabaddi 2022.
#12 Tamil Thalaivas
Tamil Thalaivas spent the majority of their auction purse to sign Pawan Sehrawat. They splurged ₹2.26 crore to sign the most successful raider of the last three PKL seasons.
The Thalaivas’ defense does not look strong on paper, but they have a reliable right corner defender Sagar, who was among the top tackle points scorers of the previous season. New player Viswanath V may play as his corner partner, while youngsters Mohit and M Abishek will likely start as the cover defenders.