With four new teams, the fifth season of the Pro Kabaddi League is all set to begin on Friday, July 28. In just three years, the Kabaddi League has come a long way. From being an uncool game to being one of the most followed sport, the rise in following speaks for itself. Here is a recap of the previous four seasons and what we can expect from the fifth season:
– Four new teams have joined the existing eight-franchises, making PKL India’s biggest sports league. 12 franchises from 11 states will battle in 138 matches across three months for the title.
– Haryana Steelers, Gujarat Fortunegiants, UP Yodha and Tamil Thailvas are the four new teams. Other eight teams are Bengaluru Bulls, U Mumba, Patna Pirates, Dabang Delhi, Bengal Warriors, Jaipur Pink Panthers, Telugu Titans and Puneri Paltan.
– With 12 new teams, we will have new captains. Players like Deepak Niwas Hooda, Sukesh Hedge are likely to lead their respective teams. Jang Kun Lee (Bengal Warriors), Rohit Kumar (Bengaluru Bulls), Meeraj Sheykh (Dabang Delhi), Sukesh Hegde (Gujarat Fortunegiants), Surender Nada (Haryana Steelers), Jasvir Singh (Jaipur Pink Panthers), Pardeep Narwal (Patna Pirates), Deepak Hooda (Puneri Paltan), Anup Kumar (U Mumba), Nitin Tomar (UP Yodha), Ajay Thakur (Tamil Thalaivas), Rahul Chaudhari (Telugu Titans)
– The stakes for the fifth season got even higher with an announcement of a consolidated sum of Rs 8 crores as the prize money for the season. The team to win the title will be getting a whopping amount of Rs 3 crores. The runners-up will be awarded Rs 1.8 crores while the team to finish in the third place will win Rs 1.2 crores.
– The Most Valuable Player will receive a substantial amount of Rs 15 lakhs. Anup Kumar, Manjeet Chhillar, Rohit Kumar and Pardeep Narwal are the previous MVPs.
– Nitin Tomar, most expensive player at Rs 93 lakh in the auction, will have to live up to the expectations of the franchise (UP Yodha). Rohit Kumar, Manjeet Chhillar and Selvamani K, Surjeet Singh are the other players who will feel the heat as their respective franchises have invested a lot of money to avail their services.
– Players like Pardeep Narwal, Rahul Chaudhari, Rohit Kumar, Jan Kung Lee will play crucial roles for their respective teams.
– Season 5 auction, which were held in Delhi saw over 350 players go under the hammer – both domestic and international. 52 players from the Ýoung Players’category were being bought by the 12 respective franchises.
– With each team allowed to retain one player each, these teams showed tremendous amount of confidence in retaining these players:
Patna Pirates: Pardeep Narwal; Telugu Titans: Rahul Chaudhari; Puneri Paltan: Deepak Niwas Hooda; U Mumba: Anup Kumar; Bengaluru Bulls: Ashish Sangwan; Dabang Delhi: Meyraj Sheykh; Bengal Warriors: Jang Kun Lee.
– Patna Pirates, who will be the defending champions, are the only team to win the title twice. After defeating Jaipur Pink Panthers in the final of the season four, they became the only team to win the coveted title in consecutive years.
– Patna Pirates’ Pardeep was the youngest player in the fourth season. However, in the fifth season, Gujarat’s Rohit Gulia will be the youngest player to make his PKL debut.
– Previous four title holders are – Jaipur Pink Panthers (season 1), U Mumba (season 2), Patna pirates (season 3, 4). Best raiders are Rahul Chaudhari (season 1), Kashiling Adake (season 2), Rishank Devadiga (season 3) and Rahul Chaudhari (season 4).
– 27 overseas players will be participating in the fifth season of the Pro Kabaddi League. Players from Iran, England, Kenya, Bangladesh, Japan, Thailand and South Korea will be seen in their respective outfits.