PKL 2019: Can Siddharth Desai power Telugu Titans to glory?

Telugu Titans, which has had little success in the first six seasons of the Pro Kabbadi League, will hope to turn around its fortunes in seventh season that begins in Hyderabad on July 20.

Siddharth Desai racked up 218 points in his first Pro Kabaddi season with U Mumba last season.

Telugu Titans, which has enjoyed little success in the first six seasons of the Pro Kabbadi League (PKL), will hope to turn around its fortunes in the current season that begins in Hyderabad on July 20.

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With last season's best raider Siddharth Desai in its ranks, Telugu Titans - which finished third in the second season - will fancy its chances of claiming an elusive PKL title. The side could not have asked for a better ambience as it will be greeted by an expected capacity home crowd to cheer it on to a winning start.

RAIDERS - Amit Kumar, Ankit Beniwal, Kamal Singh, M. Siva Ganesh Reddy, Rajnish, Rakesh Gowda, Siddharth Desai and Suraj Desai.

For a team which had for long depended on the individual brilliance of raider Rahul Chaudhari (who has now moved to Tamil Thalaivas), the think-tank has plugged the gaps that proved costly in the earlier campaigns.

The arrival of the big gun Siddharth, who was the costliest player in the auction at Rs 1.45 crores,promises to be a game-changer. In his debut PKL campaign with U Mumba last year, he bagged the Best Debutant award after scoring 218 raid points, the third best of the season. He also became the fastest to reach 50 raid points, and was also the first rookie to score 200 raids points in a season.

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Interestingly, team owner Srinivas Sreeramaneni insists that not just Siddharth, but fellow raider Rajnish will also be a player to watch out.

In all probability, this duo should be backed by Suraj Desai and Rakesh Gowda. However, the Titans' big matter of concern will be a tilt of balance if Siddharth suffers an injury. He comes into season seven after undergoing a shoulder operation.

DEFENDERS - Arsul Dattu, Akash Choudhary, Manish, C. Arun, Abozar Mohajermighani, Krushna Madane, Vishal Bhardwaj.

Not surprisingly, Telugu Titans focused on shoring up its defence too and this might make the big difference to its campaign as the likes of Abozar Mohajermighani and Vishal Bhardwaj are expected to raise the bar under pressure. The presence of veteran Arun will also add stability to the defence.

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“We have a back-up for every position and honestly, for any player to get into the starting line-up can itself be a major challenge,” said the team's owner.

ALL-ROUNDERS - Farhad Rahimi Milegardan, Manish, M. Siva Ganesh Reddy, Akash Choudhary, Amit Kumar.

Iranian all-rounder Farhad Rahimi Milgharadan, with Siddharth, will play an integral role in the team's progress. Interestingly, the franchisee’s attempt to rope in USA-based all-rounder Dewitt Jennings for Rs. 10 lakhs went haywire courtesy visa issues and he may not be the part of the campaign.