With the Pro Kabaddi League season 7 all set to begin in Hyderabad on Saturday, we take a glimpse at the dark horse of the tournament.
The Mumbai team had begun as one of the most successful team in the league, they had made it to the finals of the first three seasons. But rather than going from strength to strength, the were emptied in the next auctions, as a result U Mumba failed to qualify for the playoffs in season four and five.
They made a fresh start last season, by signning Irani coach Gholamreza Mazandarani and skipper Fazel Atrachali. With them in the driving seat and Siddharth Desai coming up as the most exciting young talent of season six, U Mumba finished second in Zone A and made it to the playoffs.
Although U Mumba kept hold of their captain Atrachali, they had to let go of coach Mazandarani, Desai and defender Dharmaraj Cheralathan.
U Mumba have tried to fill the space left by Desai by signning Dong Geon Lee and Athul MS. Furthermore, they have also held on to the services of Rohit Baliyan and Abhishek Singh, who delivered a fine performance as support raiders last season. But U Mumba for sure is missing a leading man in attack. Of the four raiders mentioned, only Baliyan has played more than 50 games and he does not have the best of averages, with 225 raid points in 53 games.
With Sanjeev Kumar Baliyan having taken over as the coach, U Mumba is once again depending on their defence to see them through to the playoffs. They have signed Sandeep Narwal at the right corner to complement Atrachali on the left.
However, it remains to be seen if U Mumba’s defence can help them deal with their raiding problems.
Retained: Fazel Atrachali, Rohit Baliyan (FBM), Abhishek Singh (FBM)
Key Transfers in: Sandeep Narwal (from Puneri Paltan for Rs 89 lakhs), Dong Geon Lee (from Gujarat Fotunegiants for Rs 25 lakhs), Athul MS (from Tamil Thalaivas for Rs 20 lakhs)
Key Transfers out: Siddharth Desai (to Telugu Titans for Rs 1.45 crore), Dharmaraj Cheralathan (to Haryana Steelers for Rs 38.5 lakhs), Vinod Kumar (to Gujarat Fortunegiants for Rs 26 lakhs)