Mumbai, July 16: Squad strength of the eight franchise outfits for season two of Star Sports Pro Kabaddi League, starting here on July 18, has been increased significantly, it was announced at the trophy launch today.
"The squad strength of the teams has been bolstered from 14 during the inaugural edition last year to 25 for the second season. More Iranian players will be seen in action," said Nitin Kukreja, head of Star Sports here.
This has been necessitated to allow teams greater freedom to not only field local and young talent, but also to ensure that teams are not adversely affected by injuries.
"Star Sports Pro Kabaddi has not only revitalised the sport but has also made Kabaddi a viable career option for young talent across the country," said International Kabaddi Federation's president, Janardhan Singh Gehlot, who was present.
The eight teams' representatives and their respective captains were also present at the trophy unveiling function. The first season saw Jaipur Pink Panthers lift the trophy by defeating Mumbai's U Mumba in the summit contest. These two teams will kick off season 2 at the NSCI Stadium here on Saturday.
The other six teams which participated in season 1 will be seen in season 2 too. Bengaluru Bulls, Patna Pirates, Telugu Titans (who have shifted base from Vizag to Hyderabad), Puneri Paltan, Dabang Delhi and Bengal Warriors are the other teams in fray.
The organisers are looking to build on the impressive following it got in the first season which saw a record 435 million viewers tune in to watch the indigenous game on TV.
With an objective to nurture and grow the sport in its markets, it is to be broadcast in five languages - Kannada, Telugu and Marathi along with English and Hindi, across eight channels of the Star network.
The league also pledged its commitment to the "Swachh Bharat Abhiyan" of the Prime Minister with the eight captains and team representatives signing a petition to this effect at the trophy launch.