A test of endurance and fitness awaits PKL season 5

The first match, on July 28, 2017, will see new team Tamil Thalaivas, led by Ajay Thakur take on Rahul Chaudhari-led Telugu Titans in Hyderabad.

Season five of the PKL was launched on Thursday with its 12 captains.   -  Nagara Gopal


The Vivo Pro Kabaddi League Season 5 starting here on Friday could pose a serious challenge not just to the skills but also to the endurance and fitness levels of the players given its three-month long duration, featuring 138 matches in all.

If the captains' mood at the unveiling of the winner's trophy was any indication at the launch of the edition here on Thursday, the players seem to be all geared up for the major task ahead.

The men who are expected to lead from the front of the 12 teams - Rahul Chaudhari (Telugu Titans), Surjeet Singh (Bengal Warriors), Rohit Kumar (Bengaluru Bulls), Miraj Shaik (Dabang Delhi), Manjeet Chillar (Jaipur Pink panthers), Deepak Hooda (Puneri Paltan), Anup Kumar (U Mumba), Sukesh Hegde (Gujarat Fortune Giants), Surender Nada (Haryana Steelers), Ajay Thakur (Tamil Thalaivas), Nitin Tomar (UP Yoddha) and Pardeep Narwal (Patna Pirates) - present at the launch showed little concern over the exhaustions of a long season ahead.

"I don't think the fans will get bored with such a long league. In fact, we feel it should be the other way. They should be eagerly awaiting to see the stars in action and more importantly this season the teams which start off on a sluggish note can always bounce back into reckoning. As players we are ready for the challenge and willing to give of our best," said Rahul Chaudhari, the star raider of Telugu Titans.

Chaudhari's side is still in search of an elusive title having made it to the last four stage in all previous editions.

The four new teams which are expected to lend variety and intensity to the competition are UP Yoddha, Tamil Thalaivas, Gujarat Fortune Giants and Haryana Steelers.

Tamil Thailavas outfit led by Ajay Thakur should obviously be one of the most watched teams for not only recruiting lot of youngsters but also for the simple reason that it is co-owned by cricketing legend Sachin Tendulkar (along with entrepreneur Nimmagadda Prasad).

Thakur revealed that during the team's recent interaction with their ''idol', Tendulkar inspired the team with his pep-talk. The former India batsman also had advice for the first time PKL captain. "He told me to take the entire team with me and advised me how to lift the mood of the team right through the season," according to Thakur.

Hyderabad will host the first round of fixtures of the new season from July 28 to August 3. All 12 teams will feature at the Gachibowli Indoor Stadium with two matches scheduled every day.

Friday's schedule: Telugu Titans vs Tamil Thalaivas (8. 00 pm) & U Mumba vs Puneri Paltan (9. 00 pm).

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