Pune: Puneri Paltan has retained Deepak Hooda, the second-best raider of the last season, for the for the Pro Kabaddi League Season 5. Hooda played important role in taking the team to No 3 position in the last two seasons.
U Mumba went into with most trusted player Anup Kumar, who led the Mumbai franchisee to the title in the Season 2 and to the final in the third edition.
Beside Anup and Deepak, Rahul Chaudhari (Telugu Titans), Meraj Sheykh (Dabang Delhi), Jang Kun Lee (Bengal Warriors), Ashish Kumar (Bengaluru Bulls) and Pardeep Narwal (Patna Pirates) were retained.
Inaugural champions Jaipur Pink Panthers, however, released all the players.
“It’s great to be back to continue playing for Puneri Paltan. Our team put up a powerful performance in Season 4, and we will take the competition a notch higher in the fifth season. With every season, PKL has grown bigger and this time there are 4 new teams entering the league. I am proud to see that VIVO Pro Kabaddi is India’s biggest sports league,” said Hooda.
“I am obliged to be retained by my family, my team U-Mumba for the fourth consecutive season,” said Anup Kumar, who led India to title in the Kabaddi World Cup last year.
“I look forward to play the next season and wish all the four new teams Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana all the best for the same,” he added.
Rahul, who is the most successful raider in Pro Kabaddi history, said: “I am delighted to return to Telugu Titans. I am looking forward to the auctions to see the composition of the team where we are expecting new talent to participate as well.”
“I want to welcome the four new teams -- Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana -- to Season five which will be bigger than ever before. Telugu Titans have their eyes set on the trophy,” added Rahul.
Recently, the organisers of the league Star announced the inclusion of four new teams while announcing VIVO as the new title sponsors for the next five years.