PKL set for Season 4 with more servicemen, more internationals

The presence of 15 more players from armed forces in the teams will definitely increase the competitive element of an already high-octane league that gets underway on Saturday.

Pro Kabaddi League has been gaining popularity every season.   -  K.R. Deepak

Pro Kabaddi League has etched out a new framework in time for the fourth season. The presence of 15 more players from armed forces in the teams will definitely increase the competitive element of an already high-octane league. Internationals from 12 countries add to the mix, with Iranians worthy of pulling crowds and winning matches.

The establishment of an Ethics & Governance Committee with powers to deal with corruption, doping, code of conduct violations and racism in 2016 is timely given the popularity of the league. The perception of PKL as a clean sport between well-matched teams and players is critical to its growth.

Patna Pirates, U Mumba and Jaipur Pink Panthers, champions in the three editions so far, celebrated title wins in front of screaming fans when the teams went back to their respective home cities with trophies. The euphoria of victory can fade with the slightest stench of corruption, as seen in T20 cricket, or by use of performance-enhancers, like in athletics.

PKL’s focus on ethics and governance, therefore, is timely, as action unfolds at the NSCI indoor stadium on Saturday. The entry of Services Sports Control Board (SSCB) players, via a separate draft, brings a vibrancy to the fourth season. Bengal Warriors picked one player while other seven teams managed to get two players each.

Bengaluru Bulls added two raiders, Telugu Titans opted for two all-rounders and others went for a raider/defender combination during the Services player draft, involving the SSCB and Amateur Kabaddi Federation of India. It is learnt that the draft involved draw of lots involving team names. Puneri Paltans got picked first in the team draws, giving it the first chance to choose players.

SSCB players draft:

Patna Pirates: Surjeet Singh (raider), Anil Kumar (defender); U Mumba: Vikash Kumar (r), Surjeet (d); Puneri Paltans: Nitin Tomar (all-rounder), Ravinder Kumar (d); Dabang Delhi: Sanju (r), Anil Kumar (d); Bengaluru Bulls: Rohit Kumar and Vinod Kumar (both raiders); Jaipur Pink Panthers: Ajay Kumar (r), Jawahar (all-rounder). Telugu Titans: S Mahalingam and Kuldeep (both all-rounders). Bengal Warriors: Monu Goyat (d)