Pro Kabaddi League Season 5: Team Uttar Pradesh to be called UP Yoddha
The 2017 edition of the Pro Kabaddi League will commence on July 28. A record 12 teams will compete in the fifth edition as four new teams join the fray. As a result, it is all set to overtake other Indian sports leagues as far as geographical representation is concerned. A total of 12 franchises from 11 states, playing more than 130 matches over 13 weeks just goes to prove the tremendous growth of the league.
Season five will witness the addition of four new franchises from Gujarat, Haryana, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh. The new franchises for the league have been chosen, keeping in mind the popularity of the sport with huge fan bases and the potential commercial value they offer to sponsors and advertisers.
The names of three of the teams had already been announced, namely, Gujarat FortuneGiants, Haryana Steelers and Tamil Thalaivas. And today, on the 21st of June, the name of the team from Uttar Pradesh has also been announced as the team will be known as UP Yoddha.
The franchise based in Lucknow is owned by GMR League Games Private Limited. The GMR group, who also own the Delhi Daredevils franchise in the Indian Premier League, stole the limelight on the first day of Pro Kabaddi League season five player auction by shelling out a whopping INR 93 lakhs to acquire the services of Nitin Tomar. It is the highest amount of money paid for a player in any auction, making the 22-year old raider the most most expensive player in the history of Pro Kabaddi League.
UP Yoddha were the only one among the new teams who opted against picking any priority player. They bought talented all-rounder Rajesh Narwal, who previously turned out for Jaipur Pink Panthers, for INR 69 lakhs. They also picked up experienced campaigner Jeeva Kumar for INR 52 lakhs, who will add solidarity to the defence. Also in the mix is raider Rishank Devadiga, bought for INR 45.5 lakhs.
Their head coach Arun, former league winning coach with Patna Pirates, will be going for the title again. Here is their full squad:
Defenders – Jeeva Kumar, Hadi Tajik, Nitesh Kumar, Gurvinder Singh, Santosh BS, Rohit Kumar, Sanoj Kumar
Raiders – Rishank Devadiga, Sulieman Kabir, Nitin Tomar, Surendra Singh, Mahesh Goud, Ajvender Singh, Gulveer Singh
All Rounders – Rajesh Narwal, Pankaj, Sunil, Sagar B Krishna