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.
The 12 captains representing each team included Maninder Singh from Bengal Warriors, Joginder Narwal from Dabang Delhi K.C, Sunil Kumar from Gujarat Giants, Pawan Sehrawat from Bengaluru Bulls, Vikash Kandola from Haryana Steelers, Deepak Hooda from Jaipur Pink Panthers, Prashant Kumar Rai for Patna Pirates, Nitin Tomar from Puneri Paltans, Surjeet Singh from Tamil Thalaivas, Rohit Kumar from Telugu Titans, Nitesh Kumar from UP Yoddha and Fazel Atrachali from U Mumba.
Ahead of the start of the season, here's what the captains of all 12 teams said about their campaigns this season:
Maninder Singh - Bengal Warriors
"Kabaddi is an extremely tough sport that requires quick strategic thinking and presence of mind. The team has been working hard on building their fitness and working on key techniques. Stepping into Season 8 as defending champions is extremely motivating. The team is prepped and ready to put up a competitive game against every opponent."
Pawan Sehrawat - Bengaluru Bulls
"We are taking all the situations into account and planning to get the best results throughout the season. Randhir sir keeps us on our toes and have been training us mentally and physically to prepare us in the best way possible to be successful this time."
Joginder Narwal - Dabang Delhi K.C.
“As we step into the new season of VIVO Pro Kabaddi League, we are looking forward to competitive matches as every team has put in maximum efforts possible to improve their game. With passion and new goals, we, as a team are excited for the new season and aim to take home the prestigious trophy for the first time.”
Sunil Kumar - Gujarat Giants
“VIVO Pro Kabaddi League has really helped us grow as players and improve our playing skills. The team has bonded well and as a unit we have built a strategy for this season in order to ensure that we perform to the best of our ability. I am looking forward to a successful Season 8 and make our fans proud.”
Vikash Kandola - Haryana Steelers
"Our coach and staff are working very hard to build this season on the squad we have. They have been paying close attention to our fitness regimes, and our training sessions have been very good. Our squad has a good mix of youngsters and experienced players, and we are all ready to take on any challenge and make this season a very successful one."
Deepak Hooda - Jaipur Pink Panthers
"We have been working rigorously for the new season, and we intend to give the best shot. With the squad having new young talent, we are sure to have a great season as we will be a surprise package. The team is mentally and physically prepared for the new season, and we aim to play well with strategic and smart thinking."
Prashanth Kumar Rai - Patna Pirates
“Our approach this season is different – we are going with a young squad and a refreshed outlook in terms of strategy and planning. Each match will have a surprise element keeping our opponent team on their toes. There is a Plan B for every situation, and we will step on the mat with full preparation. Our fans across the country will not be disappointed, and we request them to continue supporting us from the comfort of their homes."
Fazel Atrachali - U Mumba
“We are opening the season with a game against Bengaluru Bulls – a strong team on paper, but we have prepared a contingency plan to tackle each player. We are going for a simple game with a strong and balanced team. We have a combination of speed and agility in our raiding, and techniques and skills in our defense – we are confident to entertain fans with nail-biting match."
Nitin Tomar - Puneri Paltan
"With Season 8 commencing, there is a lot of excitement among the team members and fans alike. We are looking forward to getting back in the game with high level of competitiveness - the training is rigorous; we are working on multiple levels of techniques and skills. This year, we aim to treat fans to nail-biting matches and intend to take the trophy home.”
Surjeet - Tamil Thalaivas
“I think we have a young and talented squad this season, these youngsters have the capability to show their skill on the mat. We have been training hard under the guidance of Udaya sir and will aim to put our best on the big stage.”
Rohit Kumar - Telugu Titans
“This season is very different from the previous one as there is a change in format of the league, it is a different setting that we are getting used to. We have a very well-rounded team with top talents that can make a huge impact on the games going forward. Our aim is to put our best on the mat and make our fans happy.”
Nitesh Kumar - U.P. Yoddha
“First of all we are excited to be finally back on the mat after a gap of two years, second, we are confident and well prepared, thanks to a long time we as a team spent during our long training session at our UP Yoddha BK Kabaddi Academy. This is going to be a challenging season, both on the mat and off it too given the new dynamics of the bubble life, but as a team we are geared to take on the challenges and give it our all for each other, fans and our home state Uttar Pradesh.”
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