PKL Top 5 Defender : Lauded for their guile, trickery and quirky displays, these five defenders will be massively missed in the final
One of the major reasons for eight sdes failing to make it into the semi-finals lay down to their defensive frameworks. The backline was fluffed, seeing the side put into place fudged performances in defence, allowing sides to leave them in dismay and dismantle them with ease.
It saw these teams being shunted out of the ongoing edition of the showpiece tournamnet, leaving some well deserving and hefty sides in angst and aghast with these teams filing to even make it to the top 6. However, where sides were left picking up the pieces and eternally papering over the cracks of their meek and timid displays in defence, there emerged five defenders whose resolve, will and valour made them stand out amongst their compatriots.
We dwell into the aforementioned players whose displays not only won us over and saw them cover themselves in glory but gave their side a fighting chance of making it to the next stage till the dying stages.
Surjeet Singh, Puneri Paltan: 63 Tackle Points
In a season where Puneri Paltan had little, if any anything to offer in the way of defence, Surjeet Singh emerged as a beacon of light for the side. In what was an agonising season for the side in terms of defence with nothing going their way, the right cover was articulate and well-versed in his ankle holds and running thigh holds along with his stringent grasps to see him accumulate a massive 63 tackle points.
While his displays were impressive, it was the lone battle which he kept waging across the season which was to write home about, seeing him finish in the annuls of the best defenders this edition of the PKL.
Vishal Bhardwaj, Telegu Titans: 62 Tackle Point
He began things in lacklustre fashion for his side, putting in displays akin to his side’s but as the league ran down its course, Vishal Bhardwaj was quick to kick his feet and reignite his season. Much like Surjeet Singh, the player features in this pile for us owing to his ability to keep pulling off tackles, blocks and holds despite the rest of his setup falling apart and losing its way.
The player was gargantuan for his side, saving them from the plight of what looked set to be potentially embarrassing and chastening defeats, a player the side ended up thanking for curtailing their peril. Definitely one of the most impressive defenders in the season, watching him in action in the semi-finals and final would have been a scrumptious sight.
Sandeep Kumar Dhull, Jaipur Pink Panthers, 73 Tackle Points
Where it was Deepak Niwas Hooda in attack for the side, the defence solely lay on Sandeep Kumar Dhull for Jaipur Pink Panthers. The leftcorner ensured the side were able to go on a rampant winning spree at the beginning of the season along with keeping them alive in the running in for a spot in the top 6 till the culminating matches with his 73 points in defence.
With the 9 super tackles, the defender not only saved the side from potential all out situations, keeping them alive in several encounters but also pulled of 5 super 5s to put in a complete performance across the course of the season. Shoddily, the rest of his defence was an adversity, something the side will be ruing with the slightest bit of rectification on the front seeing them make massive strides this season.
Nitish Kumar, U.P. Yoddha: 75 Tackle Points
When Nitish Kumar was made captain of U.P Yoddha for the season underway, many questions were raised on the team’s management decision of moving in with such a young and inexperienced player who was only one season old in the league. And the side and defender failed to justify their decision in the opening rounds of fixtures with the defender massively waning in form, going on a remorse decline which looked irreparable at one stage.
However, as the side started finding their footing back in the league, so did Nitesh Kumar. The defender became pivotal to the side’s defence, putting in displays reminiscent of PKL 6 as he went onto win 75 tackle points for his side, taking U.P. Yoddha from a position of despair to finding their spot in the first eliminator.
Vishal, Jaipur Pink Panthers: 47 Raid Points
He might not be the highest scoring defender for us over here but it was his willingness to step upto the mantle in pivotal positions for his side and become a quintessential performer for them which sees the all-rounder come in for us. Not a specialist defender, the all-rounder worked on his skill set to make it expansive and rebuff it to put in radiant displays in defence and emerge as a foundation for his side.
Not only did he form up formidable arm chain tackles with Sandeep and pick up 47 tackle points but was more importantly crucial in saving them from potential all outs, picking up 8 super raid points to help the side keep themselves alive across the course of the league. This was a season where he grew in stature as a player, a performer who carved out an exceptional expertise for himself.