The Patna Pirates are all geared up to decimate their opponents, not on the ocean though.
Land is their calling and they would be spearheaded by skipper Rakesh Kumar as the first edition of the Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) kicks off in Mumbai on July 26. The tournament aims to enthuse fresh life into the almost-dying sport in a country, where cricket is religion.
The Kabaddi World Cup was first organised in 2004 and then in 2007 and 2010. So far, India is the unbeaten champion in the Cup.
A few of the matches of the prestigious PKL would be held in Patna’s Patliputra Sports Complex from August 7 to 10.
The Patna Pirates team is led by former Indian kabaddi team captain Rakesh Kumar, the highest auctioned player at Rs 12.8 lakh. Rajesh Shah of Mumbai-based Mukund Limited, a steel manufacturing firm, is the owner of the team.
Kumar Vijay, the secretary of Bihar Kabaddi Federation, said: “It is a great moment for Patna to host KPL matches in which international, national as well as local players would exhibit their skills.”
“Apart from Patna, the KPL would be held at seven different places, including Mumbai, Pune, Delhi, Jaipur, Vishakhapatnam, Bangalore, and Calcutta,” added Vijay.
Apart from Rakesh, the Pirates team comprises Satish Singh, whose bid price was Rs 8.4 lakh and Ravi Dalal at Rs 7.1 lakh.
The Patna Pirates also boasts of three international players — Waseem Sajjad from Pakistan, Tae Deok from South Korea and Dovlet Bashimov from Turkmenistan.
R.S. Khokhar, the coach of Patna Pirates, said: “The tournament would be exciting and we aim to win this edition. Patna Pirates will exhibit its full strength.”
Khokhar, who has known Rakesh since his childhood, said: “Our team can pose a strong challenge to any side.”
The team has been going through the paces, training rigorously at the indoor stadium of Physical Training College, Rajendra Nagar, in two shifts — morning and evening.
Of the 37 matches to be played in different cities, Patliputra Sports Complex would host four — on August 7, 8, 9 and 10.
All the matches would be played on specially developed mats in stadiums across eight cities.