The Pro Kabaddi League will make a comeback after two years when the eighth season kicks off in Bengaluru on December 22.
The PKL will be the first indoor sporting league to be held in India since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic and will be held inside a bio-bubble at the Sheraton Grand Hotel in Bengaluru.
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Ahead of th start of the season, here's a docket on everything you need to know about the captains of each of the 12 Pro Kabaddi League teams -
Maninder Singh - Bengal Warriors
Towering raider Maninder Singh will lead the defending champion Bengal Warriors. Maninder scored 205 points in 20 matches at a raid strike rate of 64 per cent last season playing a crucial role alongside Mohammad Esmaeil Nabibakhsh in the Warriors' successful campaign. However, a shoulder injury forced him to sit out for the final and he will be keen to get back on the mat this season.
Pawan Sehrawat - Bengaluru Bulls
Pawan Kumar Sehrawat will captain last season’s semi-finalist Bengaluru Bulls this season. The phenomenal raider has topped the scoring charts for the past two seasons. In the last edition of PKL, Pawan racked up 360 points in 24 games with a raid strike rate of 75 per cent. Pawan holds the record for the most points in a match at 39 and will be crucial in 2018 champion Bengaluru Bulls' quest for a second title.
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Joginder Narwal - Dabang Delhi K.C.
Defender Joginder Narwal will be the skipper of last season’s runner-up Dabang Delhi after the team bought him for Rs 20 lakh in the auction. The 39-year-old made his PKL debut in season two with Bengaluru Bulls. He has played a total of 82 matches and has 173 tackle points. This year, Joginder will be joined by his son Vinay and the father-son duo will be the first-ever to play for the same team in the league.
Sunil Kumar - Gujarat Giants
Sunil Kumar made his entry into PKL with Patna Pirates in 2016 but played just one match for the eventual champion. The defender joined Gujarat Giants in 2017 and has grown from strength to strength. The 24-year-old has played 68 matches and has scored 179 tackle points.
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Vikash Kandola - Haryana Steelers
Star raider Vikash Kandola will be at the forefront of Haryana Steelers’ title charge after being retained by the team. Last season, Kandola, 23, was the highest point scorer for the Steelers with 195 points and the sixth highest overall in the league. The Jind-born player’s agility, explosiveness and running hand touches makes it tough for the opposition to handle him.
Deepak Hooda - Jaipur Pink Panthers
Jaipur Pink Panthers held on to its captain Deepak Niwas Hooda by exercising its Final Bid Match option in this year's auction. Indian men’s national team captain Hooda will fight to help the inaugural PKL champion reclaim the title. All-rounder Deepak, 28, has played 123 matches in the league and accumulated 856 raid points along with 87 tackle points.
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Prashanth Kumar Rai - Patna Pirates
Three-time champion Patna Pirates bought raider Prashanth Kumar Rai for Rs 55 lakh in the auction and has also given him the responsibility to lead the team. Prashanth, 37, has played in every season of the PKL and has 403 raid points in 97 matches. He will be looking to fill the void left by Pardeep Narwal's departure, who has moved to UP Yoddha.
Fazel Atrachali - U Mumba
Season two champion U Mumba retained the services of its captain Fazel Atrachali. The Iranian powerhouse Fazel, who made his PKL debut in 2015, is one of the best defenders in the League and with 317 tackle points in 103 points. Fazel also led Iran to the Asian Games Gold in 2018 and will play a key role in U Mumba's bid for a second title.
Nitin Tomar - Puneri Paltan
Puneri Paltan used its Final Bid Match to hold on to Nitin Tomar for Rs. 61 lakh in this year’s auction. The 26-year-old raider made his PKL debut in 2016 with Bengal Warriors. He has played 68 matches across five seasons and scored 442 raid points.
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Surjeet - Tamil Thalaivas
Tamil Thalaivas, which built its squad from scratch at this year’s auction, bolstered its defence by spending Rs 75 lakh to bring in Surjeet Singh. Surjeet made his PKL debut with Puneri Paltan in season three. The 31-year-old defender has 278 tackle points in 94 matches so far.
Rohit Kumar - Telugu Titans
Telugu Titans roped in raider Rohit Kumar for Rs 36 lakh from Bengaluru Bulls at this year’s auction. The 31-year-old raider made his PKL debut in season three with Patna Pirates. He has played in 91 matches and scored 670 raid points and will spearhead the raiding department alongside Siddharth Desai.
Nitesh Kumar - U.P. Yoddha
U.P. Yoddha retained defender Nitesh Kumar ahead of this year’s auction. The 24-year-old, who made his debut with the same team in season five, has the experience of playing in 67 matches and scoring 222 tackle points. In season six, he became the first player in league history to score 100 tackle points in a single campaign.