U Mumba: A complete overhaul

U Mumba released Anup Kumar, who captained the side for the first five editions of the PKL, brought in Iranian right-corner Fazel Atrachali for Rs1 crore and also addressed its defensive deficiencies.

U Mumba has gone for a complete overhaul this year, released its captain Anup Kumar and bringing in Fazel Atrachali.   -  Special Arrangement

U Mumba has had tremendous success in the Pro Kabaddi League. After finishing second in the inaugural edition in 2014, it grabbed the title the very next year. In 2016, the side again took second spot in the January edition, but was only fifth in the June tournament. (Two editions of the PKL were held that year.) The team’s performance worsened thereafter — it didn’t make it out of its group in 2017.

Consequently, U Mumba has gone for a complete overhaul this year. The team released Anup Kumar, who captained it for the first five editions of the PKL, and brought in Iranian right-corner Fazel Atrachali for ₹1 crore, the most expensive foreign buy in the league’s history. It also roped in seasoned campaigner Dharmaraj Cheralathan for ₹46 lakh.

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Defence has been an area of concern for the last couple of seasons, and the team has brought in Rohit Rana and Hadi Tajik to fill the lacunae. With the two around, the defence unit looks well settled.

Even the raiding department has some exciting faces in Darshan Kadian, Rohit Baliyan and R. Sriram. Abolfazl Maghsoudloumahali and Siddharth Desai will also add spice to the unit. The franchise retained young all-rounders E. Subash and Shiv Om, alongside Surinder Singh, and this could be crucial for the side.

Player to watch — Fazel Atrachali

When U Mumba roped in the Iranian right-corner defender for a whopping ₹1 crore in the auction, he became the costliest foreign buy in the history of PKL. Atrachali, who featured in the Iran team that defeated India in the Asian Games semifinals, has previously played for Gujarat Fortunegiants. Coming in with enough experience, he will be U Mumba’s biggest trump card for the season.