The fifth edition of the Pro Kabaddi League is all set to begin on July 28 and this time around, it will feature a whopping 12 teams – four more than the previous four editions. The new season will feature 130 matches spread across 13 weeks in 11 different states, making it the biggest tournament of its kind in the country.
The new season has seen four new teams come in from Haryana, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, which are owned by the JSW Group, Adani Group, GMR Group and a combination of former cricketer Sachin Tendulkar and entrepreneur N. Prasad respectively.
The names for two teams have been announced, namely, Haryana Steelers and Gujarat FortuneGiants. Today on Sunday, the name of the Tamil Nadu side was revealed by Tendulkar on Twitter, and it will be called the Tamil Thaliavas.
This is the Master Blaster’s third franchise across India’s different sporting leagues, with the previous two being the Kerala Blasters in the Indian Super League (football) and the Bengaluru Blasters in the Premier Badminton League.
The Chennai-based side have a strong line-up ahead of the new season, after they made some shrewd buys in the auction and placed their faith in youth players. For their priority pick, they chose veteran raider Ajay Thakur, who has played in the league for the Bengaluru Bulls and Puneri Paltan, and was the star for the Indian team in their World Cup winning campaign last year.
He brings tons of experience and star power to the lineup and is expected to lead the side once the season begins. Their most expensive buy in the auction was young defender Amit Hooda for Rs 63 lakh. The 21-year-old was the subject of interest from teams across the auction room but it was the Tamil Nadu side that ultimately snagged him.
The other key players in the team are defender Anil Kumar, who was bought for Rs 25.50 lakhs and C. Arun, the former Bengal Warriors man, whose services were purchased for Rs 33 lakh.Published 18 Jun 2017, 14:22 IST