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Ho kabaddi! Go kabaddi!

Hold your breath! Pro Kabaddi is here.

From Thursday to Sunday, Patnaites will witness seven Pro Kabaddi League matches. Four of them will involve the home team Patna Pirates.

In the first match, Patna Pirates will clash with Puneri Paltan on Thursday at Patliputra Sports Complex. The next day, the home team will take the court to avenge the defeat against U Mumba — leading the points tally at present.

On July 30, Patna Pirates lost to the Mumbai team 33-36 in their away match.

R.S. Khokhar, the Patna Pirates coach, said: “The team will not repeat the mistakes made in the previous match against U Mumba and Jaipur Pink Panthers. Extra emphasis will be on defending.”

The defence of Patna Pirates strengthened after Pakistani player Waseem Sajjad joined the side. The other players who will help Sajjad in defending are Somvir Chhillar, Kuldeep Singh, Ram, Kumar Sah, Gurvinder Singh and Mandeep Kumar.

Besides Sajjan, the other foreign recruits in Patna Pirates are Tae Deok Eom from Korea and Dovlet Bashimov from Turkmenistan.

Khokhar said: “The team will retain its captain Rakesh Kumar and Ravi Dalal as raiders.”

Raiders play a crucial role in winning points in a kabaddi tie. To win a point, a raider must take a deep breath and hold it, run into the opposing half, tag one or more members of the opposite team and return to his home half before inhaling again.

The raider has to chant “kabaddi, kabaddi” to show the referee he has not inhaled in the opposition half. The defenders tagged in a successful raid have to leave the court temporarily (the same number of players of the raider’s team who were “out” can return to court). For every player tagged in a successful raid, one point is earned.

Raider Rakesh, the Patna Pirates team captain and the highest paid player in the league, expects a good support from the local crowd during its four outings on home turf.

A number of Bollywood stars, including actor couple Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Vivek Oberoi and MP Shatrughan Sinha, will be here to cheer their respective teams. The Bachchans will be supporting Jaipur Pink Panthers, which will be playing two games here on August 9 and 10.

Oberoi will cheer the Patna Pirates team, whose theme song is “Dhool Chata Dega (will make opponent bite the dust)”. Composed by Bollywood lyricist Prasoon Joshi, Aadesh Shrivastava of Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham fame gave music to it. Kailash Kher gave voice to the theme song of Patna Pirates.

The players of Patna Pirates claimed that the active participation of corporate houses in Pro Kabaddi League has helped promote the game, considered a rural sport till recently. Rajesh Shah of Mumbai’s Mukund Steel is the owner of Patna Pirates.

Emami Ltd, one of the leading FMCG major in India, has also announced association of its power brand Navratna with Patna Pirates.


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