PKL 2019: MVP Pawan Kumar Sehrawat looks to power Bengaluru Bulls to second successive title

The Bulls, coached by Randhir Singh, lifted its maiden trophy with a win over Gujarat Fortune Giants in the final thanks to the superlative 22-point effort of its star raider Pawan Kumar Sehrawat.

Bengaluru Bulls single-handedly helped the team bridge the first-half deficit and take the title home in the final match against Gujarat FortuneGiants last season.

Bengaluru Bulls single-handedly helped the team bridge the first-half deficit and take the title home in the final match against Gujarat FortuneGiants last season.   -  Vivek Bendre

Bengaluru Bulls will enter the seventh season of the Pro Kabaddi League as the defending champion and this time, the home fans will be able to cheer the team from the stands at Sree Kanteerava Indoor Stadium after a two-year absence. The team had Nagpur (2017) and Pune (2018) as home venues in the last two editions.

The Bulls, coached by Randhir Singh, lifted its maiden trophy with a win over Gujarat FortuneGiants in the final thanks to the superlative 22-point effort of its star raider Pawan Kumar Sehrawat. He single-handedly helped the team bridge the first-half deficit and take the title home. The Bulls, unsurprisingly, retained the Most Valuable Player of the season along with its ever-dependable captain Rohit Kumar. Ashish Kumar Sangwan, a brilliant defender who is equally effective in raids when required, was the other player to be retained under the Elite category.

With Mahender Singh brought back into the team using FBM for Rs 80 lakh, the team has in its perusal two brilliant raiders and two quality defenders. 

Coach Randhir Singh is known for scouting young talents and the squad certainly has a good number of youngsters who are waiting to explode on the big stage, unbeknownst to most.  

Raiders: Rohit Kumar (Captain), Pawan Kumar Sehrawat,  Sumit Malik, Vinod Kumar, Lal Mohar Yadav, Banty

The Bulls’ success depends a lot on the form of its captain Rohit Kumar and Pawan Kumar Sehrawat.

Rohit Kumar was the first player to score 30 points in a Pro Kabaddi match when he picked up 32 points against U.P. Yoddha in the fifth season. While Rohit Kumar has been quite consistent for the team and a calming presence in the team, Pawan Singh single-handedly led the team to victory in the final and was named the most valuable player of season six.  His contribution in the previous season can be gauged by the fact that he topped the list for total points (282), the most raid points (271), successful raids (209), and super raids (12). He is second only in the list of Super 10s (13), behind Patna Pirates star Pardeep Narwal (15).

READ: Pawan Kumar Sehrawat and Siddharth Desai to team up for PKL All-Star clash

While it certainly boasts of a lethal combination of two brilliant raiders, there is no one of note in the raiding department who can fill in their place in case of an injury or a dip in form. So it is imperative that both the players remain fit and in rhythm for the team to replicate its success. Pawan’s form, in particular, is crucial.

Vinod Kumar and Sumit have experience but are yet to make one stand up and take  note. In Banty (New Young Player) and Lal Mohar Yadav (Nepal), the Bulls have two new entrants in the raiding department.  

Defenders: Mohit Sherawat, Mahender Singh, Amit Sheoran, Raju Lal Chaudhary, Sandeep, Vijay Kumar, Aman, Saurabh Nandal, Ajay, Ankit

With a Final Bid Match (FBM), Bengaluru Bulls cheekily retained the service of its reliable defender Mahender Singh after letting other teams battle vigorously at the auctions for the player. Singh, specialising as a left-cover defender had one super tackle, six high 5s and a creditable 63 tackle points in the previous season.

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All-rounder Ashish Sangwan is expected to complement him by taking his place in the right cover. If Pawan and Rohit make for an envious raiding partnership, Mahender Singh and Ashish Sangwan make for potent defensive cover pairing for the team.

Amit Sheoran and Raju Lal Chaudhary are likely to be the first-choice corner defenders for the team. Aman and Saurabh Nandal are the new recruits while the rest haven’t had enough opportunities to show their talent.

All-Rounders: Ashish Kumar Sangwan and Sanjay Shreshta

Though Ashish Kumar Sangwan scored more raid points than tackle points in the fifth season, the team will be more dependent on him as a defender to partner with Mahender Singh. He scored 45 points, including 40 tackle points for the team in Season 6.

Nepal’s Sanjay Shreshta, the only other all-rounder in the team, has been part of PKL from the start but has played only two matches so far and remains an untapped potential. 

Bengaluru Bulls full schedule

July 20: Bengaluru Bulls vs Patna Pirates

July 21: Bengaluru Bulls vs Gujarat FortuneGiants

July 28: U Mumba vs Bengaluru Bulls

August 3: Bengal Warriors vs Bengaluru Bulls

August 8: Telugu Titans vs Bengaluru Bulls

August 11: Bengaluru Bulls vs Haryana Steelers

August 12: UP Yoddha vs Bengaluru Bulls

August 17: Tamil Thalaivas vs Bengaluru Bulls

August 21: Puneri Paltan vs Bengaluru Bulls

August 24: Dabang Delhi vs Bengaluru Bulls

August 25: Jaipur Pink Panthers vs Bengaluru Bulls

August 31: Bengaluru Bulls vs Gujarat FortuneGiants

September 1: Bengaluru Bulls vs Tamil Thalaivas

September 4: Bengaluru Bulls vs Patna Pirates

September 6: Bengaluru Bulls vs Telugu Titans

September 13: Bengal Warriors vs Bengaluru Bulls

September 20: Puneri Paltan vs Bengaluru Bulls

September 23: Dabang Delhi vs Bengaluru Bulls

September 27: U Mumba vs Bengaluru Bulls

October 2: Haryana Steelers vs Bengaluru Bulls

October 4: Jaipur Pink Panthers vs Bengaluru Bulls

October 11: UP Yoddha vs Bengaluru Bulls