Season 2 champions will look for a change in their fortunes under their new head coach.
U Mumba, the 2015 champions of the Pro Kabaddi League (PKL), and runners-up in seasons 1 and 3 could not perform at their best in Season 8. Playing under the leadership of Fazal Atrachali, the Mumbai franchise failed to qualify for the playoffs. The team finished 10th in the points table with only seven wins out of 22 matches. This was one of their poorest seasons and the team who once were the top teams in the league’s early years would like to change that in the upcoming season set to begin on October 7.
The men in orange, which had advanced to the knockout round five out of the previous seven seasons, ended up scoring the fewest points in the league stage since the league expanded to 12 teams.
At one point, Mumbai appeared poised to make the playoffs, but captain Fazel and the team ultimately lost all four of their league games and were eliminated from the competition. For the upcoming campaign, they fired Subramanian Rajaguru as their head coach. Anil Chaprana has been hired for the upcoming campaign and the team would hope for their fortunes to change.
Strength of the team
U Mumba will bank on their defense
Right-corner defender Rinku Sharma was retained by the franchise ahead of the Pro Kabaddi 2022 auction. He was the team’s most successful defender last season, scoring 60 tackle points in 22 matches. This season Kiran will be a new left corner defender of the team. He was part of the silver-winning Maharashtra side. After the departure of Fazal Atrachali, there are no big names in defense in Mumba’s team. Young player Kiran will probably play in the left corner. The team will have two cover defenders in the form of Surinder Singh and Harendra Kumar. Harendra was with the team in the last season as well. He scored 31 points in 21 matches while playing in the left-cover position.
Surinder meanwhile was part of the franchise previously and is returning to the side after spending time away with Telugu Titans. Vishal Mane, a club veteran who left them after the fourth season, will be playing for his home franchise, making it a homecoming for him as well. The right-cover defender was a member of the Mumba team that participated in three straight Pro Kabaddi finals.
Weakness of the team
Not much experience in the raiding department
U Mumba’s raiding unit has a youthful spirit this season. It will be a bit surprising to know that the No. 1 raider of the team has so far scored only 100 raid points in PKL. Guman Singh played with Patna Pirates last season but he was not the team’s main raider. Singh scored 97 points in 19 matches and also recorded four Super 10s in Season 8. It will be interesting to see how he performs as the lead raider of U Mumba. The champions of the second edition paid a record fee of 1.2 crores to sign the 23-year-old Chandigarh-based raider.
Ashish Narwal, who played for his home team Haryana Steelers in the previous Pro Kabaddi season, is another youngster who will be seen in a prominent role at U Mumba. After making his PKL debut with Patna Pirates in Season 7, Ashish joined the Steelers and impressed the Kabaddi world with his raw raiding skills. Apart from these two there aren’t any raiders who could have much experience in PKL.
Players to look out for:
Guman Singh and Ashish are definitely the two players to watch out for as far as raiding is concerned. Rinku Sharma will once again be in the spotlight in defense along with Surinder Singh.