The newly named Gujarat Giants went into the PKL 8 Auctions with their cover Jodi of Sunil & Parvesh retained but came in knowing they had to rebuild the rest of their squad. The former Fortune-Giants have done away with the fortune in their name but will be hoping that they can reap the fortunes of a strong defensive unit in Season 8 of Pro Kabaddi.
The Gujarat Giants have always been a defense-heavy team since the time they set foot into the Pro Kabaddi League and much of that is because of the two cover defenders who are arguably the best cover defenders in the country – Sunil Kumar and Parvesh Bhainswal. That combination remains intact along with the two young corner defenders Ankit and Sumit. Going into the auction it was clear that they had to focus mainly on their raiding as they did not retain Rohit Gulia or Sachin Tanwar. But what we got to witness in the auction was a complete surprise to all as they built an unexpected squad very similar to season 5 – where they finished runners-up.
Overall Squad Rating: 6.5 / 10
The Gujarat Giants further strengthened their defensive unit as they signed The Hawk, Ravinder Pahal at a high price but Pahal’s addition means that the Giants have 3/4 Railways defenders who are India’s finest. They also signed Hadi Oshtorak who can play as a backup Right Corner. In the Left corner position, they signed the experienced Girish Ernak who first went unsold but later was brought in to be picked up at the base price. As expected in the cover region, the Giants did not focus much and only signed the Iranian cover Soleiman Pahlevani.
In the Raiding department, however, they do not have any big signings and settled for mostly C category raiders. Giants signed back the lanky Sonu Jaglan who in all likelihood will lead the raiding department and also went on to sign Rathan K from Karnataka who had a good 68th Senior Nationals campaign. Other than Sonu and Rathan, the Giants have few other C category raiders in the likes of Pardeep Kumar, Ajay Kumar, Mahendra Rajput, Maninder Singh and Harshit Yadav.
Overall the squad balance does not look too great as the raiding looks very much on the weaker side until & unless one of the new signings has a miraculous season. But the defense looks rock solid and all the top raiding teams will have a tough task at hand to get past the defensive unit of the new look Gujarat Giants. The question really is whether this strategy of a heavy defense unit will work or not for an entire 3-month long season. There is no doubt that the fiery coach Manpreet will squeeze the most out of his boys but the task at hand for the raiders will be to provide consistency for the rest of the side.