They were thought to be the most destructive side in the initial seasons of VIVO Pro Kabaddi. Stadiums were packed and the noise of the fan army was deafening, auch was the appeal of the Anup Kumar-led U Mumba. They had one of the most balanced sides and could run through oppositions in the blink of an eye. The entertainment capital of the country had managed to produce one of the most entertaining sides of the league.
At the heart of the U Mumba team lies the patient yet aggressive leadership of Captain Cool Anup Kumar. The swift raider from Haryana has one of the most level heads among the current crop of kabaddi players and is the perfect mentor for the youngsters of the team. In the first season he used young Rishank Devadiga to good effect and groomed the youngster into one of the most destructive raiders from the state of Maharashtra. Even to date he is able to marshal the team’s resources perfectly and has the experience to shuffle the defence according to the opponent’s weakness.
Seeding Maharashtra’s best
One of the biggest reasons for U Mumba’s rise over the years has been the strong bank of local players they can choose from. Owing to Maharashtra’s rich kabaddi tradition, a number of young players have emerged from the state and U Mumba managed to nurture many of these names into international level talents. Among the big names from the Maharashtra stable are U.P. Yoddha’s Rishank Devadiga, Patna Pirates’ Vishal Mane and Sachin Shingade and U Mumba’s Nitin Madane. Even though a lot of these players left for other clubs after the initial seasons, the new crop of youngsters from the state have made an impression on the kabaddi world yet again by winning the Senior National Kabaddi Championship, which bodes well for the team from Mumbai.
From title challengers…
U Mumba have managed to reach three of the five VIVO Pro Kabaddi finals played so far, missing out only in the 4th and 5th edition of the league. They narrowly missed out on the title to Jaipur Pink Panthers in the first season thanks to Jasvir Singh and Maninder Singh’s heroics but came back stronger in the next campaign to get the better of the side and lift the trophy. This ability to bounce back higher has been one of the main features of the U Mumba outfit. They have always managed to work on their mistakes and keep evolving as a side which makes them all the more dangerous. They were one of the most feared teams of the league till Season 4 and had a line-up which could intimidate even the top players of the game.
…to a transitioning team
The team from India’s maximum city have run into a number of hurdles of late though. The biggest of which has been that a lot of their senior players like Anup Kumar and Shabeer Bappu no longer have age on their side. Their young brigade, impressive as it may be, has not yet raised their game enough to be able to challenge the best in the business. The team currently seems to be in a state of transition between the old guard and the new which has affected their recent form. However, as they have proven earlier, one can never write off Captain Cool and U Mumba’s fans will be hoping for the team to return to their former glory soon.