Pro Kabaddi heralded a new era in Indian sport by transforming the traditional game of kabaddi into an inspirational and international spectacle with a remarkable following. Organisers Mashal Sports had promised that Season 5 would be a much bigger affair, and they have kept their promise by bringing in four new teams. VIVO Pro Kabaddi is now India’s biggest sporting league with geographical representation across 11 states. Here we provide the lowdown on the new entrants.

Gujarat Fortunegiants

Representing the state of Gujarat, the team from the city of Ahmedabad has been christened ‘Gujarat Fortunegiants’ and is owned by the Adani Group. Their home venue will be the Arena by TranStadia in Ahmedabad with Pankaj Shirshat at the helm of affairs as team coach.

The Fortunegiants had a fairly successful auction as they managed to secure the services of one of the best corner defence combinations in the form of Fazel Atrachali, best defender of Season 4, and Abozar Mohajermighani, costliest foreign player of the Season 5 auction.

Sukesh Hegde was also a valuable addition to their squad, known nationwide for his exploits in Telugu Titans colours. He will also be wearing the captain’s armband for the franchise. He will be joined by fellow raider and former Bengal Warriors player Mahendra Rajput to strengthen the attack.

Fans will hope that the Fortunegiants, in red and yellow jerseys, stay true to their anthem: Garjega Gujarat.

For the complete team sheet, click here

Haryana Steelers

Representing the state of Haryana, the team from the original den of kabaddi in India has been named ‘Haryana Steelers’ and is owned by the JSW Group. Their home matches will be played at Sonepat under the guidance of team coach Ranbir Singh Khokhar, who brings in 35 years of rich experience.

The Steelers ended the auction on a high by roping in two of the best defenders in the business, Mohit Chhillar for Rs 46.50 lakh and Surender Nada. The attacking strength of the squad is equally impressive with the like Surjeet Singh leading the pack.

In their blue jerseys, Haryana Steelers will aim to bring the tradition-laden state to the foreground and truly live up to their roar: Lath Gaad Do.

For the complete team sheet, click here

Tamil Thalaivas

Representing the state of Tamil Nadu this season, the Chennai-based kabaddi team has been branded as ‘Tamil Thalaivas’ and is owned by N Prasad and cricket great Sachin Tendulkar. Their home venue will be the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Chennai with K Baskaran being the team coach.

The Thalaivas had a good auction as they picked star defenders Anil Kumar and Amit Hooda, who bagged a whopping Rs 63 lakh, along with C Arun and Sanket Chavan to make the defence rock solid.

They also roped in one of the best do-or-die raiders, Ajay Thakur, who will also be leading the team onto the pitch as captain. M Thivakaran and Sombir are other important names in attack.

Donning yellow jerseys with a hint of blue, Tamil Thalaivas will look forward to staying true to their anthem: #NammaMannuNammaGame

For the complete team sheet, click here

U.P. Yoddha

Representing the state of Uttar Pradesh, ‘U.P. Yoddha’ represent the city of Lucknow and is owned by the GMR Group. The new team will be coached by the highly experienced Dronacharya awardee Udaya Kumar, who has previously managed Telugu Titans and the gold medal winning Indian kabaddi team in the 2002 and 2006 Asian Games.

U.P. Yoddha created history in the latest auction by picking star player Nitin Tomar for a whopping Rs 93 lakh. The likes of Rishank Devadiga and all-rounder Rajesh Narwal will assist Tomar in forming a brilliant raiding combination capable of winning matches on their own.

The defence will be led by the experienced Jeeva Kumar, who has previously played for U Mumba. These four important cogs will head the young brigade into the battle and the Yoddha could prove to be the surprise element of the season.

They will be wearing maroon and yellow jerseys, and will look to bring feistiness of a warrior to their campaign.

For the complete team sheet, click here

(Tune into Star Sports and Hotstar from July 28 onwards to be a part of Season 5)