Puneri Paltan – A team from Maharashtra, where Kabaddi was famous even before it was played on the mat, is one of the eight founding members of the Pro Kabaddi League. The team carries the attitude of brave Maratha warriors in their orange jerseys, as the symbol of Pune’s culture.
Going into the seventh season of PKL, the Paltans have so far failed to live up to their name and expectations. But with a new season comes a new start, new players and in Pune’s case, the new ‘Super Coach’.
But before the season starts, here is everything you need to know about Puneri Paltan in Pro Kabaddi 2019:
About Puneri Paltan
|Owner||Insurekot Sports, Mumbai|
|Home Ground||Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex|
Puneri Paltan Team 2019
|Player||Playing Position||Age||Price ( ₹ Lakhs)|
|PO Surjeet Singh||Defender - Right cover||29||56|
|Girish Maruti Ernak||Defender - Left Corner||28||33|
|Satpal||Defender - Right Corner||20|
|Pawan Kumar (Kadian)||Raider||24||20|
|Emad Sedaghat Nia||Raider||32||11.25|
|Jadhav Balasaheb Shahaji||Defender - Right cover||20||10.25|
|Shubham Shinde||Defender - Right corner||20||-|
|Hadi Tajik||Defender - Right Corner||26||10|
|Deepak Yadav||Defender - Right cover||22||10|
|Sagar B. Krishna||All-Rounder||27||10|
History : Puneri Paltan
Puneri Paltan was one of the founding members of the Pro Kabaddi League in 2014. Maharashtra is the only state which has two teams in the league, Pune and U Mumba.
The team is owned by Insurekot Sports, a Mumbai-based firm, eager to revive the game of Kabaddi in India. In 2014, the team organized a selection camp in Pune, where the best performers were given a chance to play in the second edition.
Efforts to spread the sport did not stop there, as Puneri Paltan continued to promote Kabaddi by organizing ‘Talent Hunt’ in various parts of Maharashtra. ‘Little Puneri Champs’ camp was conducted in 2014, for the school students in Pune.
In the 2014 PKL auction, Wazir Singh was Pune’s most expensive player at ₹ 10.6 lakhs.
As mentioned earlier, Insurekot Sports are the owners of Puneri Paltan. The firm was founded in 2001. Sumanlal Babulal Shah, Rajesh Harkishandas Doshi, and Karthik Kumar Venkataraman Marshan are the three directors of Insurekot Sports who also hold prestigious positions at other big companies.
The Talent Hunt and Little Puneri Champs are the initiatives taken by the Insurekot Sports in order to help the grass root players.
Sponsors of Puneri Paltan
— Puneri Paltan (@PuneriPaltan) July 2, 2019
Force Motors, one of the leading automobile manufacturers in India have been Pune’s main sponsors for the past three seasons. The company will continue to support the team for the upcoming season as well.
Equio provided the kit for the past three seasons but looking at Pune’s recent social media posts, it is likely to change this season. The players can be seen donning the Shiv Naresh kit during the practice. The famous Indian brand will be the kit sponsors for the seventh season.
Pune recently conducted yet another camp in partnership with the energy drink giants, Red Bull –“Red Bull Tashan’.
After failing to even make it to the final of PKL in the first six seasons, Puneri Paltan made probably the most important change in the history of the club – bringing in former Indian captain, Anup Kumar as the head coach.
After his retirement in December 2018, Pune moved quickly to rope in the ‘Bonus Ka Badshah’ as their coach for the seventh season. Anup has been working with the team for some time now and has been crucial to Pune’s preparations for the upcoming season.
Performance in PKL
The Pune-based franchise has been far from the best side in the league. In the six seasons so far, Pune has made it to the playoffs just twice while finishing with a wooden spoon on two occasions.
Despite their preparations, various training camps, the first season was a disastrous one for Pune. They finished at the bottom of the league with just two wins in 14 games. Their first win came against Bengaluru Bull, winning the game 33-31. The second and the last win of the season was against Bengal Warriors.
Pune lost a total of 12 games in the first season with a point differential of -127.
Pune’s fortune didn’t change much in the second season as they finished last once again. They won only two games once again. And for those looking for a reason to smile, the Paltan did lose ‘only’ 11 games in 2015, drawing a game against Telugu Titans.
Pune finally got going in the Pro Kabaddi League in January 2016 after two forgettable seasons. The team finished 3rd in the table at the end of the group stage with 7 wins, 3 draws – 48 points in total. Their points tally was more than the combined points in the first two seasons.
The credit for Pune’s change of fortunes in the 3rd season must go to their defensive trio of Manjeet Chillar, Surjeet Singh and Jasmer Singh Gulia. Manjeet was the best defender in the league in the third edition with 61 tackle points won. Surjeet won 48 points while Jasmer finished with 46.
But in their first ever semi-final, Pune suffered a 21-40 defeat against eventual champions Patna Pirates. They managed to finish the season on a high, winning the 3rd place game against Bengal Warrior.
Six months after their best performance in the league, Pune were involved in an intense race for the top four finish against U Mumba. Pune and Mumbai both finished with 42 points after the group stage but the Paltan qualified for the semi-final with superior point difference.
The Pune-based team failed to beat Patna Pirates once again in the semi-final, losing 33-37. And they managed to finish third once again with a 40-35 win against Telugu Titans.
Manjeet Chillar was Pune’s best defender once again with 44 tackle points. Deepak Hooda was the team’s best raider and third best in the league with 128 raid points.
After the addition of four new teams to the league, Puneri Paltan was drafted to Zone A for the fifth season. Playing 22 games in the season, the team was in an exceptional form throughout the group stages. They won 15 games, finishing second in Zone A with 80 points.
But the dreaded knockout games came back to haunt them once again, and surprise, surprise, against Patna Pirates once again. Pune won the Eliminator 1 of the playoffs, defeating Up Yoddha 40-38. But in the Eliminator 3, Pune came up short against their old foes, Patna. The Pirates won the game 42-32 to make it to the Qualifier 2 while Pune finished 4th in the overall standing.
Three consecutive qualifications for the playoffs/ semi-finals, three consecutive defeats at the hands of Patna Pirates. Pune were simply unlucky to face the eventual champions three seasons in a row.
But in the 2018 season, Pune failed to even make it to the playoffs finishing 4th in Zone A. Pune won just 8 of their 22 games and losing 12 of them. And to make things worse for them, even Patna failed to make it to the playoffs this time.
Nitin Tomar was Pune’s best raider with a perfect 100 in raid points. Girish Maruti Ernak was their best defender with 56 points.
Record: Puneri Paltan
After roping Anup Kumar as the coach, Puneri Paltan has completely shuffled their team. They were the only team to not retain any of the players from the previous squad. Although, they did get a few of the players back in the auction.
Nitin Tomar was Pune’s most expensive buy, with the raider going for ₹ 1.2 crores.
Home Stadium of Puneri Paltan
Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex at Balewadi, Pune has been Pune’s home stadium since 2014. The multi-sports complex has the capacity of 11,000+ and is also the home ground of ISL’s FC Pune City.
2019 Season: Puneri Paltan Schedule
— Puneri Paltan (@PuneriPaltan) June 22, 2019
Pune will kick-off their seventh season against Haryana Steelers on 22nd July. With the Zonal system being eliminated for this season, Pune will face each team twice in the double round robin format. At the end of the 22 games, the top 6 teams will make it to the playoffs of the league.