Bengaluru, Sep 22: Pro Kabaddi League side Puneri Paltan had a terrific PKL 2022 auction as they signed Iranian player Mohammad Esmaeil Nabibakhsh for a whopping Rs 87 Lakhs and later shelled out a staggering Rs 1.38 crore for his compatriot and star defender Fazel Atrachali ahead of PKL season nine.
The franchise retained ten players ahead of the auction and added the Iranian duo to help strengthen their defence. Puneri Paltan stepped up their training and practice ahead of the new season with a strong emphasis on team bonding and skill development.
With the experience of players like Fazel and Mohmmad Nabibakhsh coupled with the massive potential of youngsters such as Aslam Inamdar, Puneri Paltan are quite optimistic about having a successful season in PKL 2022.
Head Coach, BC Ramesh, has high ambitions for the team this season and spoke about how Fazel's presence helps the youngsters in the team. Speaking exclusively on Star Sports show 'Total KBD' he said, "It's my thinking and even Fazel's that Puneri will be the champions this season."
He added further, "We have very young players in our team. All are good raiders and good defenders as well. Now we needed an experienced player who could captain the team. A defender who could push the team, play well and is a good player back at the left corner. And for that, we bought a player like Fazel Atrachali. There is a lot of concentration on fitness and we are working on getting even fitter this season and performing well. Having good competition among the youngsters will help us improve and increase our fitness as well, which will prove good for the team."
Atrachali spoke about how important the upcoming season is for him and Puneri Paltan, he said, "This season, I want my team to be the champions and this is very important for me." He added, "I am working very hard for this and I hope I play good this season."
Ramesh commended how the Sultan's leadership has a positive effect on the team and how he martials his teammates to support them in every situation. He further said, "Fazel has to guide the raiders based on the situation. He can read the opponents well and advise which players could win maximum points for the team. Whether it would be an offensive or defensive catch, Fazel will be planning it out with the team."
All-rounder of the Puneri Paltan - Aslam Inamdar spoke about how Sultan Fazel guides the team and acts as a role model for the youngsters around. Speaking on the show, he said, "Our team lacked seniors and experienced players and having Fazel has filled up that spot."
He added further, "He guides us well during practice and we perform the drills accordingly. His team bonding is very good, he includes all the players along and he's been very supportive towards us too."
All the action from PKL 9 will begin on October 7 onwards which will be available LIVE & Exclusive on the Star Sports Network and Disney+ Hotstar.