UP Yoddha has caused quite a stir ahead of Season 8 of the Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) by roping in Pardeep Narwal for a record price of 1.65 crore. 

The team management has been happy with the developments that have happened at the auction this year. Head Coach Jasveer Singh elaborated on this, saying, “We roped in players according to what was needed. That way, the auction went very well for us.”

The team has an impressive squad to look at.

UP Yoddha raiders: Surender Gill, Pardeep Narwal, Shrikant Jadhav, Aman Hooda, Ankit, Gulveer Singh, James Kamweti, Mohammed Taghi, Rohit Tomar, Sahil

UP Yoddha defenders: Ashu Singh, Nitesh Kumar, Sumit Sangwan, Ashish Narwal, Shubham Kumar, Gaurav Kumar, Aashish Nagar, Bintu Narwal (COVID contingency player)

UP Yoddha all-rounders: Gulveer Singh, Nitin Panwar

The Raiders

‘King’ Pardeep Narwal, with 1169 PKL points, tops the list for most points in the history of the league. Naturally, the raiding contingent is centred around his presence in the team.

Additionally, there is Shrikant Jadhav, UP Yoddha’s star raider in PKL 7. He topped the list for UP Yoddha with 152 points in his kitty, complete with three super-10s and 28 do-or-die raid points. 

The team also has the services of Surender Gill, who has proven to be an excellent support raider with 71 raid points in the 18 matches he played in PKL 7. 

The Defenders

Captain Nitesh Kumar is naturally the pick of the defenders. His command over the right corner coupled with his strong ankle holds is always bad news for raiders. He scored 76 points in PKL 7, having led the team to a top-three finish while doing so. 

Sumit Kumar, named the Best New Young Player for Season 7 of PKL, topped the defenders’ chart for UP Yoddha. He had collected 80 points in 22 matches with seven High-5s to his credit too. 

Ashu Singh, the trusted right cover, was retained before the PKL 8 auction. Along with other young defenders like Gaurav Kumar and Aashish Nagar, he will add value to the squad.

What to look forward to

While UP Yoddha itself may have come into PKL only during Season 5, the team has always made it to the play-offs. This season, they would like to top that off with a title to take home. 

The team has always encouraged youngsters, with Nitesh Kumar himself being only 22 years old when he took over the captaincy responsibilities. This year too, they have a lot of young talent on their side which they will look to capitalise on. 

The team will start their PKL 8 campaign against defending champions Bengal Warriors on December 22 at Bengaluru.

Click here for the full set of fixtures.