After a two-year hiatus, Bengaluru Bulls will get to ride on the support of its home fans as the Bengaluru leg of the Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) gets underway at the Sree Kanteerava Indoor Stadium from Saturday.
The reigning champion was forced to shift its home matches to Nagpur and Pune during the last two years after local authorities had not responded positively to requests to use the Kanteerava Stadium.
With the matter now resolved, Bulls, which lies fifth in the table with 33 points from 11 matches, will take on Gujarat Fortune Giants in the opening match of the home leg. It will be followed by the clash between sixth-placed U Mumba and third-placed Jaipur Pink Panthers.
“Last year we became champions but couldn’t play here,” said Bulls coach Randhir Singh Sehrawat on match-eve. “But we are very happy to be back. From the team that played here last, Rohit [Kumar] and Pawan [Kumar Sehrawat] are still here. They know how it feels to turn out in front of the home crowd. We are all looking forward.”
Of the two, Pawan Kumar has been in top-form, sitting atop the leader-boards in both total points (137) and raid points (128). On the other hand, captain Rohit’s form has wavered. Randhir Singh insisted that it was important for the raider duo to fire in unison against Gujarat, a team which handed the Bulls a heavy 42-24 defeat earlier in the season.
“Rohit reaching his peak is very important for us,” he said. “But we are confident that he will soon get there. Also, it is important to focus on our defence. Whenever it is has been good, we have done well. Three matches -- against (Dabang) Delhi, UP (UP Yoddha) and Haryana (Steelers), we lost because of weak defence. So we should be watchful.”
“We have four matches here and a good run will push us much higher in the table. But this season has seen tough competition and it won’t be easy. I just want my team to give 100%. Victory or defeat is not entirely in our hands," Randhir Singh added.