The Haryana Steelers on Sunday announced former India national Rakesh Kumar as the head coach ahead of the upcoming seventh season of Pro Kabaddi League. Kumar will replace Rambir Singh Khokhar, who was on the job since the entry of the franchise into the league two seasons ago.
Speaking on the appointment a day before the auctions, Kumar said: “I am excited about returning to the PKL mat as coach of the Haryana Steelers and am thankful to the franchise for giving me this opportunity. It is my first time as Head Coach of a team and I intend to lead this team after the auction through hard work and discipline to ensure we can take the team to the top of the league.”
Mustafa Ghouse, Chief Executive Officer of JSW Sports which owns Haryana Steelers, said: “We are thrilled to have Rakesh join us and are looking forward to him bringing his vast experience as a player and leader to the Steelers setup. He brings a strong winning mentality to the team and will play an important role in guiding our young players to achieve their potential.”
Kumar, 36, made his international debut in 2003 and has won two World Cup golds and three Asian Cup golds for India in his career. He was picked as the captain for Patna Pirates captain in the inaugural season.
He has played 55 matches in the PKL, in which he has earned 260 points in the first five seasons.
Haryana Steelers had a disappointing season last year, in which they failed to make the playoffs. The side has retained the services of 21-year-old star raider Vikash Kandola and all-rounder Kuldeep Singh.