Gujarat Fortunegiants: A new-look side

The Gujarat Fortunegiants will feature mostly new faces after Iranian aces Fazel Atrachali and Abozar Mighani have left the team, as have other experienced Indians whose contribution took it to the final last year.

With 159 raid points in 24 games last season, Sachin Tanwar was outstanding and finished among the top 10 offensive players in the competition.   -  Special Arrangement

A Pro Kabaddi League debutant last season, a new-look Gujarat Fortunegiants side is determined to replicate its 2017 showing. Iranian aces Fazel Atrachali and Abozar Mighani have left the team, as have other experienced Indians whose contribution took it to the final last year.

For coach Manpreet Singh, moving on is better than living in the past. “No team can retain all its players. The Iranians were excellent and will do well whichever side has taken them. We retained two youngsters and the others went into the auction,” he said.

“The players signed by us have quality, some have performed in the nationals, two are foreigners. If we had gone for the Iranians, getting 18 other players would not have been possible. We could not afford to spend huge money on only two [players],” Singh said. Atrachali went to U Mumba for ₹1 crore, while the Telugu Titans purchased Mighani for ₹76 lakh.

The Gujarat Fortunegiants retained Sachin Tanwar, Sunil Kumar and Mahindra Rajput, while South Korea’s Dong Geon Lee and Iranian Hadi Oshtorak have joined the squad for PKL-6. The team’s costliest signing this year was K. Prapanjan for ₹38 lakh, while Ajay Kumar, at ₹25 lakh, appears to be a smart buy.

Singh said the team’s focus will be on reaching the semifinals and final this year, too, “We set an example for the other teams by winning all our matches at home, setting a record of not losing a single game. Our fans coming to watch show affection for our performances, [which is] a boost for the players,” he said.

Player to watch - Sachin Tanwar

Sachin Tanwar was outstanding and earned 159 raid points in 24 games last season, finishing among the top 10 offensive players in the competition. “Sachin was exceptional in the attack and there is no way we would let go of him,” said coach Manpreet Singh. But Tanwar will no longer be a surprise package this time around, and Singh is expected to build on experience against the best defenders.