What does the addition of Rakesh Kumar in U Mumba ranks mean to Anup Kumar?
We take a look at how the duo, who have spent a lot of time playing together, can benefit each other and the U Mumba team
The new season of Pro Kabaddi League kicks off on 30th January with the defending champions U Mumba’s match. The team now has another star to boast about- Indian Kabaddi team captain Rakesh Kumar. For the last two seasons, he has been leading Patna Pirates as a player-cum-mentor.
Talking of U Mumba, they have had an excellent run in the ‘Pro Kabaddi League’ in both the seasons. In the first one, they ended up second, losing to Jaipur Pink Pathers in the finals and triumphing in the second season. The key factor of their dominance has been their ‘captain cool’ Anup Kumar. The team itself is very dominative with Shabeer Bapu and Rishank Devadiga on Anup’s side to assist him with attacks, and Mohit Chillar and Surendra Nada on the defensive side.
This season, U Mumba are going to face some new challenges as all the teams have reformed themselves a lot and a number of transfers were made in the last two months. The most surprising of them were the transfers of Manjit Chillar and Ajay Thakur to Puneri Paltan.
The form of Puneri Paltan in the last two seasons has been disastrous and in order to revive their luck, the franchise has made such huge investments. The needle points towards Rakesh Kumar, who was fairly incapable of driving the team in the past seasons.
The reason isn’t his incapability, but the lack of good players who were missing at various moments when Rakesh needed some assistance. As a result of which, the last two seasons have not been very good for the Indian captain, be it on the team level or individual level.
How Rakesh’s inclusion can help U Mumba?
No one can doubt the skills of Rakesh Kumar as he is the national team captain and his ‘Lion’s Jump’ and ‘Catwheels’ make him one of a kind kabaddi player. He is a good leader and a team player as well. Anup Kumar needs someone who can assist him with raids when the breakpoint occurs and a leader who can guide the team when he is off the field.
Last season, only Rishank was able to lead from the front when Anup was off-field and Shabeer Bapu was seen in a lot of pressure as well. In such cases, Rakesh will prove to be useful. With his presence in the team, U Mumba will become a tougher nut to crack.
"We are a great team and understand each other's game perfectly. We know each other's strengths and weaknesses and have learnt to structure our game around them. Rakesh is not only an exceptional player but is also a great mentor to the youngsters of the team. His addition will definitely take U Mumba a notch higher and will help us in our goal of becoming champions yet again," said Anup Kumar on the extent of Rakesh's influence.
The season will definitely be a watchable one when U Mumba gets on the turfs with a new gem on their side!