Telugu Titans: Time to live up to the name

The Telugu Titans’ best finish in PKL has been fourth place in season 4, and it finished fifth last year. The team will depend on star raider Rahul Chaudhari to lift its fortunes in season 6.

Telugu Titans' Rahul Chaudhari on a raid against Bengal Warriors during a Pro Kabaddi seaons 5 match.   -  Nagara Gopal

 The Telugu Titans’ hopes of an excellent Pro-Kabaddi League season 6 will depend on star player Rahul Chaudhari. After finishing a disappointing fifth last season, the team will hope to live up to its name in the upcoming season. Its best finish was fourth in season 4.

It isn’t an exaggeration by any length to say Chaudhari holds the key. The raider wasn’t initially retained by the franchise, but during the player auctions, the management used the Final Bid Match card to retain him for a whopping ₹1.29 crore.

Chaudhari has the highest raid points overall — 666 — and has 543 successful raids over five seasons of the glitzy league and is miles ahead of Pardeep Narwal. Chaudhari’s USP — the running hand touch — is a move that requires great acceleration and stretching from the raider to get a touch on the defender and it has to be executed with utmost precision, something that is child’s play for the Telugu Titans’ star. Also, his ability to raid from both sides of the mat makes him more menacing.

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Getting Abozar Mohajermighani on board as a defender, the Titans defence looks good too. The Iranian was a key player for the Gujarat Fortunegiants last season and his experience will go a long way in shaping his new team’s defence.

With Vishal Bharadwaj spearheading the all-rounders, the Titans look set in all departments. Bharadwaj finished third in the tackle points list behind the the experienced Surender Nada and Surjeet Singh last season.

Not afraid to venture into raids combined with his ankle and thigh-hold defensive tactics make Vishal a force to reckon with in the Titans squad.

Player to watch — Rahul Chaudhari

After a mediocre season 5, Chaudhari will be itching to get back to form at the earliest. Also giving up the captaincy midway last season, he saw his fortunes rise, but it wasn’t enough to lift his team. The accomplished raider will be keen to bounce back this season.