Pro Kabaddi League begins today (July 18th,2015) at the NSCI stadium, Mumbai. The first match is between Jaipur- Pink Panther (season 1 winning team) and Mumbai – U Mumba (season 1 runners up team).
Touted to be a fast paced game, it will see some changes in rules - expansion of team members, strategic time outs with the coach and also incorporating foreign members into the team.
For this season squad strength of each team has been increased from 14 to 25 to allow teams greater freedom to not only field local and young talent, but to also ensure that they are not adversely affected by injuries, said the authorities, KFI (Kabaddi Federation of India).
The first leg of the season is scheduled to run from tomorrow up to July 22 after which the action is to shift to Kolkata, home of the Bengal Warriors. The subsequent Match Fictures.
According to the chief promoter of the League, Charu Sharma of Mashal Sports, the prize money for the top teams this year has been doubled from last year to the tune of Rs two crore.
"The wait after almost a year is over. The players, could not wait to step on the mat. We have missed it like anything. It's a crucial period and we're looking for the maximum number of points. We came so close last season and with the final once again being held in Mumbai, we owe the fans the trophy," said Kumar, who was part of the team that won 2010 Asian Games gold.
“At the start of last season, none of the eight teams had any idea how the league would pan out or who would advance the furthest. We want to retain our title. Doing it once is easy. Doing it a second time is tougher. But we are taking one game at a time. The planning is short term”, said Navneet Gautam, Jaipur – Pink Panthers caption.
Amitabh Bachchan, who has sung the 'Le Panga' number for promoting the league, will perform the National Anthem on the opening night in Mumbai on Saturday.
The changes in rules for season 2:
• The Squad strength of each team bolstered from 14 members in the inaugural edition to 25.
• The maximum number of foreigners per side is limited to 4.
• At time of play, a 12-member squad (seven playing, five substitutes) must comprise two foreigners.
• Coach consultation to be introduced. 1 per half per for 20 seconds, wherein coaches can guide their team without stoppage of play. The match clock will continue during such consultations.
• Only 5 substitutions allowed per team per match as compared to any amount of substitutions last season.
The 8 teams Participating are:
Bengal Warriors, Bengaluru Bulls, Dabang Delhi, Jaipur Pink Panthers, Patna Pirates, Puneri Paltan, Telugu Titans (have shifted base from Vizag to Hyderabad) and U Mumbai.
By Sree Teja.