Hyderabad: The dust has finally settled down and one of the much awaited league, Pro Kabaddi League Season 5, is all set to roll down at Gachibowli Indoor Stadium in Hyderabad on Friday.
The fact that makes PKL-5 special is that it will be first time in the history of Indian sports leagues that 12 teams will be fighting out for a trophy over a span of 13 weeks wherein altogether 138 matches will be played.
PKL has added four new teams for the Season 5 - Tamil Thalavias, Haryana Steelers, Gujarat Fortunegiants and UP Yoddhas. The season finale will be played in Chennai on October 28.
The first day will witness new team Tamil Thalaivas taking hand on hand with Telugu Titans in the first encounter, while in the second match of the day Puneri Paltan meet their mighty neighbours U Mumba.
In the first match, all eyes will be on local favourite Rahul Chaudhari - captain of Telugu Titans who is one of the most feared raider in the kabaddi circuit.
Debutant Tamil Thalaivas will be led by another star raider Ajay Thakur, who is ready to roar with his new team.
“All are very good teams. But on the mat along with good performance we will also need sheer amount of luck which can turn the match in any team’s favour,” said Ajay Thakur during the Season-5 trophy unveiling conference.
Known for his stylish raids Rahul is ready for the gruelling season, which will continue for 13 weeks.
“My wish is to give my best for my team and I will do that. Whichever teams come in front, my team will perform with full force,” said Chaudhari.
Stage set for Maharashtra derby
The second match will see neighbours Pune crossing swords with Mumbai.
Whenever these two teams have met, stakes of Pro Kabaddi have risen enough to keep every spectator on their toes.
In the history of Pro Kabadddi, both the teams have battled six times with the Pune outfit having won twice and U Mumba having won on four occasions.
Although statistics favour U Mumba, but on paper Puneri Paltan looks strong enough to improve their record.
“U Mumba is very good team, they play very well but we are ready to give them answer on mat. In the last two seasons, our team has finished on third position. I am sure we will not go down on points table and in Season 5 we will climb up to No 3 position," said Deepak Hooda captain of Puneri Paltan.
"All teams should forget our performance of Season 4 as you will see U Mumba like we were in the first three seasons," said Anup Kumar captain of U Mumba
Word from new team captains:
All the teams should watch out for us. Although we are a new team all should still be careful from us.
Surender Nada, Haryana Steelers
We are the youngest team in Season-5 but we can surprise any big team on our day. Our preparation is solid.
Sukesh Hegde, Gujarat Fortunegiants
My team is blessed with young players and all are eager to perform on the big stage.
Ajay Thakur, Tamil Thalaivas
We are a team from Uttar Pradesh and every player of my team will perform like ‘yoddha’ Warrior.
Nitin Tomar, UP Yoddha