Puneri Paltan have enlisted the services of seasoned professional Dharmaraj Cheralathan ahead of the fifth season of VIV0 Pro Kabaddi. The Maharashtra side will begin their campaign in the second match of the opening day on July 28 against neighbours U Mumba in Hyderabad and Cheralathan’s signing will give them a lot of hope ahead of what will be the longest season yet.

"With four new teams in the fray, Season 5 will be very tough and hectic as well. But we have a very good all-round team this time around. Our aim is to win gold. Nothing less will satisfy me," Cheralathan said after joining Puneri Paltan.

The Tamil Nadu-born defender has 18 years of experience under his belt which includes a World Cup championship win last year at Ahmedabad. He has been a part of the Indian team at various international events including the South East Asian championships and Asian Beach Games.

Even at the age of 42, the Kabaddi Hall of Famer is going great guns. “There is a lot of speed now,” he sheds light on how kabaddi has changed since the inception of the league, before adding, “More than that, kabaddi has regained popularity among the people in the country.”

Cheralathan featured for Bengaluru Bulls and Telugu Titans before captaining Patna Pirates to the trophy last season. During the season, he also completed a record eight super tackles. Puneri Paltan, who finished third in the last two seasons, will be hoping their new signing can at least help them go one better this time around.