Traditional sport, modern avatar

Aug 03 2014, 03:01 IST
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SummaryPro Kabaddi League brings the glitz and glamour of IPL to an otherwise staid old game of the country.

TAKE A traditional sport, base it on the successful sporting league format a la IPL, add a bit of glitz and glamour and garnish it with a whole lot of professionalism. The result is a concoction called Pro Kabaddi League (PKL), the latest to join the league of extraordinary sporting leagues in the country. The first edition of the tournament started on July 26, with eight franchises consisting of players from around the world in fray.

The first signing and auction of players for the eight teams were held on May 20 in Mumbai. India’s national kabaddi captain Rakesh Kumar was the priciest among them all with a tag of R12.80 lakh bought over by the Patna franchise. Mostafa Noudehi was the highest paid overseas player bought for R6.6 lakh by the Pune franchise, among a host of other players hailing countries such as Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Iran, Japan, the UK, Indonesia, South Korea, Oman, Taiwan, Kenya and Turkmenistan.

Here’s a look at the eight teams and some of the players to watch out for this season...

Bengaluru Bulls

Owner: Kosmik Global Media

Coach: Randhir Singh

Player to watch out for:

Manjit Chillar (all rounder)

Railway worker Manjit Chillar has been creating a splash in the kabaddi circuit. The all-rounder has won five gold medals in major national and international tournaments. The most memorable was winning gold at the 2010 Asian Games. Apart from kabaddi, Chillar also enjoys throwing his weight around in the wrestling ring.

Jaipur Pink Panthers

Owner: Abhishek Bachchan

Coach: Kasinathan Baskaran

Player to watch out for:

Navneet Gautam (defender)

With a 25 medals to his name, Navneet Gautam has left his mark on the game of kabaddi. This defender won his first medal at the professional level at the age of 19 years. His most memorable moment, however, was winning gold at the 2006 Asian Games. Gautam enjoys playing competitive football.

U Mumba

Owner: Unilazer Sports

Coach: Ravi Shetty

Player to watch out for:

Anup Kumar (raider)

Since entering the kabaddi circuit, this police inspector has racked up over 20 medals in national and international tournaments. However, his crowning glory came when he received the Arjuna Award in 2012 for his contribution and domination in the game. When this raider is not stealing bases, he enjoys hiking in his spare time.

Patna Pirates

Owner: Rajesh Shah

Coach: RS Khokhar

Player to watch out for:

Rakesh Kumar (raider)

From the being the son of a farmer working in the Indian Railways to making front page headlines,

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