The fourth season of Pro Kabaddi League is set to begin from 25 June and end on 31 July. The tournament is expected to start with a game between Telugu Titans and Puneri Paltan which will be held at Mumbai. As many as 60 matches are expected to be played across seven venues with eight teams looking to earn top honours – five among them for the first time and three for the second time. This includes Jaipur Pink Panthers (the first champions), U Mumba (champions of the second edition) and Patna Pirates, the reigning champions. Till date, U Mumba has been the most consistent team in the tournament with 75% success rate, followed by Patna Pirates (56.25%), Telugu Titans (50%) and Jaipur Pink Panthers (50%).
The tournament has been sanctioned by International Kabaddi Federation, Asian Kabaddi Federation and Amateur Kabaddi Federation of India. Mashal Sports are the managers of the tournament and Star Sports are its broadcast partner.
Singer cum actor Diljit Dosanjh, who came to national limelight with Udta Punjab is the brand ambassador of the latest season. He has featured in PKL’s promotional video where he sings Khed de Gabru Kabaddi Mitron. However, the promotional campaign has also attracted some controversy after a perceived slight at one of the popular television shows – called Naagin with Mouni Roy in the lead – of Colors, which happens to be a direct opponent of Star TV. The promos entreat viewers to ditch fake ‘tamasha’ for real sporting challenges.
Bengal Warriors – The team is owned by Birthright Games & Entertainment Private Limited and its captain is Nilesh Shinde. Its head coach is Raj Narain Sharma. The team is based at Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Indoor Stadium, Kolkata. It has three overseas players – Jang Kun Lee from South Korea who plays as a left raider, Simon Kibura, a raider from Kenya and Chaminda Ruwan Samarakoon Mudiyanselage from Sri Lanka. He is a left corner defender.
Bengaluru Bulls – Owned by Kosmik Global Media, Bengaluru Bulls is led by Surjeet Narwal. Its head coach is Randhir Singh. The team is based at Sree Kanteerava Stadium in Bengaluru. It has a couple of overseas players – Sinotharan Kanesharajah from Sri Lanka who plays as a raider and Nicholas George Mottram from UK who plays as a left corner defender.
Dabang Delhi KC – The Delhi-based team is owned by Radha Kapoor and its coach is Honnappa C. Gowda. Its captain is Kashiling Adake. The team’s base of operations is Thyagaraj Sports Complex. It has a couple of overseas players from Iran – Meraj Sheyk, who plays as an allrounder, and Hadi Tajik, who is a defender – and also one from Thailand – Phonchoo Tin, who is an allrounder.
Jaipur Pink Panthers – Owned by Abhishek Bachchan, Jaipur Pink Panthers are led by Jasvir Singh, and are coached by Kasinathan Baskaran. The team is based at Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur. Its three overseas players are Lo Chia Wei from Chinese Taipei who plays as a raider, Wei Yang from Taipei, who plays as a right cover defender and Masayuki Shimokawa from Japan, who plays as a raider.
Patna Pirates – Owned by Rajesh V Shah, Patna Pirates is coached by RS Khokar. The team is based at Patliputra Sports Complex in Patna. The team is led by Dharmaraj Cheralathan and its three overseas players are from Iran – Abolfazel Maghsodlo plays as a raider, Fazel Atrachali plays as a left corner defender, and Hadi Oshtorak, who plays as an allrounder.
Puneri Paltan – Insurekot Sports Private Limited is the owners of Puneri Paltan and the team is coached by Ashok Shinde. Manjeet Chhillar is the captain of the team. Its two overseas players are Khomsan Thongkham, a raider from Thailand, and I Ketut Ariana, a right corner defender from Indonesia. The team is based at Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex.
Telugu Titans – Telugu Titans is owned by Srinivas Sreeramaneni on behalf of Veera Sports and its coach is Dr Ramesh Bhendigiri. It is based at Gachibowli Indoor Stadium in Hyderabad. The team is led by Rahul Chaudhari. There are a couple of overseas players from Pakistan – Akhlaq Hussain and Muhammad Rizwan who play as allrounders. The other overseas player is Mohammad Maghsoudlou from Iran. He is an allrounder as well.
U Mumba– U Mumba is owned by Ronnie Screwvala, and the team is based at Dome, NSCI SVP Stadium in Mumbai. The team is coached by Ravi Shetty and Bhaskaran. Its captain is Anup Kumar. All its overseas players are from Bangladesh – Md. Arduzzaman Munshi, Md. Tuhin Tarafder, and Md. Zakir Hossain, all of whom are raiders.
Indian players to watch out for
The following table provides details of Indian players who can stand out during the new season:
|Anup Kumar||Raider||U Mumba|
|Rakesh Kumar||Raider||U Mumba|
|Nilesh Shinde||Right corner defender||Bengal Warriors|
|Nitin Mandane||Raider||Bengal Warriors|
|Mohit Chhillar||Right corner defender||Bengaluru Bulls|
|Surender Nada||Left corner defender||Bengaluru Bulls|
|Kashiling Adake||Raider||Dabang Delhi KC|
|Jasvir Singh||Raider||Jaipur Pink Panthers|
|Shabeer Bappu||Raider||Jaipur Pink Panthers|
|Pardeep Narwal||Raider||Patna Pirates|
|Dharmaraj Cheralathan||Raider||Patna Pirates|
|Ajay Thakur||Raider||Puneri Paltan|
|Manjeet Chillar||Allrounder||Puneri Paltan|
|Rahul Chaudhari||Raider||Telugu Titans|
|Sukesh Hegde||Raider||Telugu Titans|