The Pro Kabaddi League Season 5 is approaching its business end and teams that have already played their home legs over the last two months now have only a handful of games to make their bids for a top three finish in their respective zones.
The Telugu Titans, whose home leg in Hyderabad was the first of the season, find themselves in a precarious situation and have just four games remaining and a maximum of 20 points to score as they look to eke out a place in the super playoffs.
After an opening day win, their home leg was a disastrous one and in the 18 matches they have played so far, they have won just five. They take on a struggling Dabang Delhi on Thursday and will be without one of their most experienced players on the mat in the form of veteran all-rounder Rakesh Kumar.
The Titans coach confirmed to Sportskeeda that the former India captain is having issues with his back and will be unfit for the team's crucial matchup against Delhi. Rakesh, whose form has blown hot and cold over the course of the season, has played in both attack and defence for his side, raking up 16 tackle points and 7 raid points in 10 matches.
However, he has not been a part of the team's lineup in their last few games and now, it has been confirmed that it was due to a back injury and he will continue to remain on the sidelines. Rakesh, who is an Arjuna Award winner, is one of the most experienced players in the league's short history and has been a part of it since its inception, plying his trade earlier with the Patna Pirates and U Mumba.
The Titans, despite his absence, will start as favourites against the Delhi team. Corners Vishal Bharadwaj and Sombir have performed consistently well for their side and their two Iranians Farhad Milaghardan and Mohsen Maghsoudlou have also looked the part.
Rahul Chaudhari and Nilesh Salunkhe are expected to the lead the attack for the Men in Yellow, with the latter playing the role of the secondary raider. Rohit Rana, who is a cover defender, is likely to be handed the captaincy duties.