Star Sports Pro Kabaddi: What to expect from the Telugu leg
The world’s biggest kabaddi league is back for the third time, this time in January. The return of Star Sports Pro Kabaddi in just 5 months is a welcome sight for the sport’s fans. From now on, we will have 2 seasons of the league in 1 year. So, without further ado, let’s take a look at what to expect from the first leg of the tournament – Vizag (Visakhapatnam).
All the 8 teams, after reshuffling their teams in the off season, will shift base to Andhra Pradesh and the home of Telugu Titans – Vizag. The team in yellow shift their base back to this city after playing the second season in Hyderabad. From 30th January to 2nd February, the world’s eyes will be set on Rajiv Gandhi Indoor Stadium as the kabaddi extravaganza begins down South.
Electrifying opening encounters
The opening match itself is a blockbuster, with last season’s winners U Mumba taking on the home side in a mouth-watering clash. The defending champions strengthened the team with the signing of Indian captain Rakesh Kumar from Patna Pirates. The home side have added steel and experience to their defence by making former Bengaluru Bulls star Dharmaraj Cheralathan a Titan. Both the teams look strong on paper and it will come down to who performs better on the day to determine the winner.
The second match of the day will see Dabang Delhi take on a new-look Bengaluru Bulls, led by former Delhi raider, Surjeet Narwal. The 25-year-old was injured for the second season, but his performances in the first edition earned him rave reviews and the captain’s armband for last season’s runners-up. The Delhi outfit have roped in Puneri Paltan’s Wazir Singh and Pravin Niwale to help out stalwart Kashiling Adake. Ravinder Pahal’s side will hope to make their first semis and a start against the much-changed Bulls’ squad gives them the chance to make the perfect start.
Another double header comes our way on the second day of the Vizag leg as the two champions from the first two seasons take each other on. Jaipur Pink Panthers kept the core of their team the same in the off-season and will want to shake off their disappointing performance in the previous edition this time round. The Anup Kumar-led U Mumba will want a repeat of last season’s start, where they nearly went on a 10-match winning streak.
The home team will face Puneri Paltan in the second match of the day. The Paltan have got a makeover after signing last season’s MVP, Manjeet Chhillar and his teammate, the vivacious Ajay Thakur. Deepak Hooda will go up against his former team as the Pune-based outfit look to turn their fortunes around. For the Titans, the responsibility to get the bulk of the point-scoring will fall on the able shoulders of Rahul Chaudhari and Sukesh Hegde.
Telugu Titans look to maintain stellar home form
Two-time Asian Games gold medallist Manpreet Singh will lead the Patna Pirates against the Pink Panthers in the opening match of Day 3, which will serve as a pre-cursor for the home team’s titanic clash against Dabang Delhi. The Pirates, coached by Sanjiv Kumar, signed Rajesh Mondal from the Bulls ahead of this season and with Sandeep Narwal and Gurvinder Singh already in the ranks, look a formidable outfit, but will face stiff competition as Jasvir Singh looks hungry for the Panthers.
Dabang Delhi end their campaign in Vizag against Telugu Titans. The two teams had contrasting fortunes last season and will look to improve their results this time round. With a vociferous crowd, as we saw last season, cheering every move by the men in yellow and jeering every opposition player, the match is sure to be electrifying.
Last season’s whipping boys, Bengal Warriors, aim to reverse the tide and cause an upset against the home side in the lone match on the final day of the Telugu leg. Nilesh Shinde will lead the Warriors, who will be glad to retain the services of crowd favourite, Jang Kun Lee, and experienced Dinesh Kumar. Telugu Titans were undefeated at home last season, with 2 wins and as many draws and they will be eager to replicate the results in season 3.
With so many exciting matches in store, Vizag provides the perfect start for the new season of Star Sports Pro Kabaddi. The players are ready for another month-long roller-coaster ride. Are you?