PKL 2019: Attack the best form of defence; UP Yoddha out to "raid" its way to title

Boasting incredible raiders in Rishank Devadiga, Monu Goyat and Shrikant Jadhav, UP Yoddha will bank on its raiding department as it bids for a maiden Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) title.

UP Yoddha captain Rishank Devadiga scored 104 points last season, which accounted for 85.75 percent of his team’s total raid points.   -  PKL Media

Like in its debut season, UP Yoddha finished third in Zone B of the Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) last year and progressed to the eliminators. The side, led by Rishank Devadiga, went on a rampage and soared into the qualifiers, but lost to eventual runner-up Gujarat FortuneGiants.

Aiming to maintain continuity, the team has held on to its core squad during the auctions. An already impressive raiding unit has been further strengthened with the arrival of Monu Goyat, while its impressive young defence – which was key in its march to the qualifier – will prove to be fundamental once again should it repeat, or better, its performances in season seven.

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While UP Yoddha has a strong starting line-up, there’s little depth on the bench. With its stars expected to play majority of the games, lack of form or an injury could severely dent its title hopes.

RAIDERS: Monu Goyat, Rishank Devadiga, Shrikant Jadhav, Md. Masud Karim, Gulveer Singh, Surender Singh, Ankush and Nitesh Kumar

The raiding trio of Monu, Rishank and Shrikant will be the team’s biggest strength. Having used its two Final Bid Matches to keep hold of Rishank and Shrikant, UP Yoddha roped in Monu to compliment the duo.

While Rishank finished with 104 points last season, which accounted for 85.75 percent of UP Yoddha's team's total raid points, Monu picked up 160 points (with Haryana Steelers) – including 10 Super 10s. While the trio does not feature in the top ten raiders (by points collected) last season, the experience and presence of specialist raiders on either side (Rishank and Monu on the right, Shrikanth on the left) will make it one of the league's most potent attacks.

 

Rishank and Monu will also be out to prove a point after both the players saw their values drop from season 6. Rishank, who went for ₹111 lakh in 2018, was retained for ₹61 lakh while Monu, who went for ₹151 lakh in 2018 to become the highest paid player in PKL history, saw his price fall to ₹93 lakh this year.

DEFENDERS: Nitesh Kumar, Sachin Kumar, Aashish Nagar, Amit

Nitesh Kumar was the undoubtedly standout player for UP Yoddha last season. His understanding with his opposite corner Sachin Kumar was the foundation on which the team’s charge was built on and it will hope to bank on that this season too. Right corner Nitesh created history by becoming the first player to score 100 tackle points in a single season last time around.

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With youngsters Aashish and Amit the only back-ups, UP Yoddha will be hoping for the star duo to consistently perform while steering clear of injuries.

ALL-ROUNDERS: Narender, Gurdeep, Mohsen Maghsoudloujafari, Arkam Shaikh

Mohsen Maghsodlujafari's signing is of prime importance to the side. His ability to perform as a do-or-die raider and also as a defender will prove to be priceless. Narender, a match-winner on his day, will be hoping for a more consistent season this time, while the fresh faces in Arkam and Gurdeep will be hoping to get a shot or two.

UP Yoddha full schedule

July 26: UP Yoddha vs Gujarat FortuneGiants
July 24: UP Yoddha vs Bengal Warriors 
July 31: U Mumba vs UP Yoddha  
August 2: Telugu Titans vs UP Yoddha  
August 7: UP Yoddha vs Tamil Thalaivas  
August 9: Patna Pirates vs UP Yoddha   
August 12: UP Yoddha vs Bengaluru Bulls 
August 14: UP Yoddha vs Haryana Steelers 
August 19: UP Yoddha vs Jaipur Pink Panthers 
August 25: Dabang Delhi vs UP Yoddha  
August 26: UP Yoddha vs Puneri Paltan  
September 1: UP Yoddha vs Bengal Warriors 
September 6: Patna Pirates vs UP Yoddha
September 9: UP Yoddha vs Gujarat FortuneGiants
September 16: Jaipur Pink Panthers vs UP Yoddha
September 18: U Mumba vs UP Yoddha
September 21: UP Yoddha vs Tamil Thalaivas 
September 28: Haryana Steelers vs UP Yoddha
October 5: UP Yoddha vs Dabang Delhi
October 6: UP Yoddha vs Puneri Paltan 
October 9: UP Yoddha vs Telugu Titans  
October 11: UP Yoddha vs Bengaluru Bulls