Deepak Hooda, fourth-highest scoring raider in VIVO Pro Kabaddi League history with 342 raid points, has been named captain of Puneri Paltan ahead of the fifth edition starting on July 28. Hooda, who played an important role in Pune’s back-to-back third-placed finishes, will at least look to take the team one step further this time around.

“I am extremely humbled to be appointed as captain. I am grateful to the management for having faith in me. We are putting in a lot of effort to train and build our team. Our head coach is very insightful and guides us at each and every step. With this new team and continuous guidance from our head coach and mentor, we are pretty confident that we will give our best in this season,” Hooda told reporters at a press conference.

Pune appear one of the strongest sides heading into the new season with a good blend of youth and experience. Hooda will have renowned names such as Dharmaraj Cheralathan, Rajesh Mondal, Sandeep Narwal and Girish Ernak to work with and improve on their third-placed finishes in the last two seasons. 

Puneri Paltan CEO Mr Kailash Kandpal too has a lot of hope from the current set of players and believes the team has the wherewithal to go all the way. “We have a lot of talented players in the team for this season. Our team is an amalgamation of both experience and talent. This season looks very promising for us and we hope to win the title. We as Puneri Paltan, are committed towards kabaddi as a sport and intend to promote it right from the grassroots level. Along with the players and fans here, I would like to take this opportunity to thank our sponsors who have shown faith in us and continue to support us,” he said.