Pro Kabaddi League Season 6: Ex-U Mumba boss Edachery Bhaskaran rejected 4 other offers to join Tamil Thalaivas
After five full seasons that were replete with some memorable moments and a couple of rare blemishes, U Mumba's legendary coach, Bhaskaran Edachery has finally decided to call it time with the team that he built from scratch.
Five seasons, some painfully last ditch losses and a Pro Kabaddi championship later, on Monday it was announced that the former India national coach will take up the managerial role at Tamil Thalaivas for the sixth season.
Under his tutelage, U Mumba built arguably, the best team so far in PKL. In season 2, Bhaskaran's side was littered with players who are now among the best in the game.
It speaks volumes about his ability to get the best out of his players. Anup Kumar, Shabeer Bapu, Rishank Devadiga, Vishal Mane, Mohit Chhillar, Surender Nada and Jeeva Kumar were all once part of a stellar U Mumba side that instilled fear in every single team in the league.
"I will miss them a lot! We were together for five seasons, they were like my family and we managed to build a great bond. But this is the profession, we keep moving from one place to another. I tried to do my best for U Mumba and will continue to do my best in the future as well."
"Tamil Thalaivas have given me a huge responsibility to take the team forward. I will sincerely try to make this team proud," he added.
The southern outfit found it arduous to build momentum last season and finished at the bottom of their Zone B table. They ended up losing 14 of their 22 league stage matches and even an in form Ajay Thakur couldn't do much to plug the losses.
Bhaskaran reckons based on the composition of the side, Thalaivas did a pretty good job, considering the fact that it was their very first season in the Pro Kabaddi League. He believes credit is due for their performance against some of the elite teams in the league.
"According to me, based on their team last season, they played really well. They beat a champion team like Gujarat Fortunegiants and beat several other top teams. When they lost, they ended up losing by a small margin.It was down to the last 1-2 minutes"
Asked what he reckons was missing last season, Bhaskaran said -"We will head into the auctions with a new strategy and will buy only team players. Last time, I felt that Ajay Thakur was the only experienced player in the side. The others were too young and when Ajay got out, the team had nobody to control them," he explained.
While PKL is littered with several talented and experienced coaches, Bhaskaran is among the cream of the crop. Over the years, he has cemented himself as one of the best and his credentials speak for themselves.
He's been a coach for the last two decades and it's safe to say in Bhaskaran, the Thailavas have an extremely adept coach with the uncanny ability to keep his calm under the toughest of conditions.
"Yes I received offers from several teams but the management at Tamil Thalaivas are really good. I recieved offers from three to four teams," he stated.
Pro Kabaddi season 6 also brings an end to a wonderful partnership between Bhaskaran and former India captai, Anup Kumar. U Mumba's ex-captain was not retained and hence enters this auction as a free agent. Bhaskaran was tightlipped when asked if he plans to team up with Anup again at Thailavas.
"It's too early to speak on this. Now we have a new management and we are using some metrics to decide our transfers. Within these metrics, we have to see where Anup stands. The main thing we're looking for is performance on the mat. We will always have a good relationship," he signed off.