Chennai, Oct 7: The stage is set for Season Six of the Pro Kabaddi League with Tamil Thalaivas taking on defending champion Patna Pirates in the opener at the Nehru indoor stadium here on Sunday (October 7).
In the other match on the opening day, Puneri Paltan clashes with U Mumba. The popular 12-team league will move to Sonepat after the first leg in Chennai.
At an event to unveil the trophy Friday, captains of all the teams sounded confident about doing well. Patna Pirates, winner of the last three editions start as the favourites, while Gujarat Fortunegiants, Bengal Warriors and Jaipur Panthers will be among the sides aiming to dethrone the champions.
Patna Pirates captain Pardeep Narwal said the team had prepared well for the new season and aimed to win the title again
"This season I have worked on multiple strategic moves to counter our opponents. For Patna Pirates, one of the most challenging teams we believe is Puneri Paltan because their defence is very strong. I look forward to the season and I am going to take the trophy home this time," he added.
Meanwhile, Tamil Thalaivas, after a poor outing in PKL-5, are primed for a good show. Captain Ajay Thakur said the team had a nice balance and can be expected to challenge the other outfits.
"In the previous season our team composition was heavy on youngsters. So, if it happened that I was not on the mat, taking instant decisions was tough.
This year, the team has a perfect balance of young and experienced players, we have Manjeet Chillar, Jasvir Singh and Sukesh Hegde who can take phenomenal decisions at the spur of
the moment during the match," he added.
UP Yoddha captain Rishank Devadiga said with an extended season the focus would be on fitness as the league has been extended to three months.
"Earlier the season was shorter, and the chances of injury were higher as players prove their mettle on the mat each day. With a 3-month long league, there is enough break period for players to rest and recuperate.
The challenge in a longer league is to maintain a certain level of fitness consistently which is what we at UP Yoddhas are training for," he added.
Gujarat Fortunegiants coach Manpreet Singh said the players had trained well and were looking to go one better and win the trophy this time.
"The players have had good preparation. We don't have star players but we have enough quality to do well," he added.
C Kalai Arasan, one of the two Tamil Nadu players in the team, said they had been training well for the new season and were confident of doing well.
"We have been training for three months. It has gone well. We don't have star players but have a good all-roundside capable to doing well and winning the tournament," he
After the league matches, the play-offs will be held in Kochi and the finale will be held in Mumbai on January 5, 2019.
PKL season six will be telecast on the Star Sports Network channels including Star Sports First and Star Sports 1 Tamil.