Jaipur Pink Panthers hopes for revival of form

As the fourth edition of the competition rolls into the city, the host would be hoping its change in both personnel and strategy pays off when it takes on Telugu Titans in its first home game here on Wednesday.

Jaipur Pink Panthers lost its first game against U Mumba by twi points.   -  ProKabaddi

From champions in the inaugural edition to failing to make it to the semifinals in the following two, Jaipur Pink Panthers have had a rather rough ride in the Pro Kabaddi League after the initial high.

As the fourth edition of the competition rolls into the city, the host would be hoping its change in both personnel and strategy pays off when it takes on Telugu Titans in its first home game here on Wednesday.

With a new coach in Balwan Singh and a new captain in Jasvir Singh, Jaipur would be hoping for a new lease of life to its fortunes even though both of them are in as much need of a revival of form as the team itself.

While former India coach Balwan had a forgettable outing with Delhi in the previous season — his team won just one of the 14 games — Jasvir, one of the two retained players by the side this time around, was also a let down in terms of raid points, which reflected directly in the team's attack.

The inclusion of Shabeer Bappu, one of the most prolific raiders in the PKL, would be a welcome addition and along with Rajesh Narwal, Jaipur would be hoping to get into attack mode. Rohit Rana and Ran Singh, bought back during this year's auction, should also be happy with the advent of all-rounder Shrikant Tewathia to shore up the defence.

“We have only played one match and we played well despite the loss. Even in the previous two editions, we played some close games but were unlucky to lose out. There has been a change in both the strategy and players and we are confident of not disappointing our fans this time,” Jasvir said here on Tuesday.

The team had a month-long camp in Chennai and both the captain and the coach insisted that the players had developed a good combination. However, the absence of former skipper Navneet Gautam form the squad raised quite a few questions.

“He has an injury that's why he isn't playing. As the captain who lifted the trophy for the first time ever, I can never forget him and for me, no one can be better than him. In fact, I still talk to him and discus things,” Jasvir explained but was unable to answer why the former India captain was absent from the auctions as well.

The day's other match would see defending champion Patna Pirates take on former champion U Mumba hoping to continue the winning momentum. Patna won its only match against Puneri Paltan while Mumbai has a win and a loss each in its two games so far.

Schedule: Jaipur Pink Panthers vs Telugu Titans (8 pm), U Mumba vs Patna Pirates (9 pm).