All eyes will be on the Pro Kabaddi League today, as the much-anticipated second edition of the lucrative kabaddi competition gets underway. In the first match of the day, last year's finalists U Mumba take on defending champions Jaipur Pink Panthers at the National Sports Club of India (NSCI) in Mumbai.
It's a repeat from last year's final as the Jaipur side produced a brilliant display to defeat the Mumbai side 35-24 at the same venue.
Influential skipper of the Pink Panthers, Naveen Gautam – a triple gold medallist at the Asian Games (2006, 2010, 2014) – said that his side has no other plans but retaining the title. He admits though that this year it will be tough, but they are willing to take it one game at a time.
"At the start of last season, none of the eight teams had any idea how the league would pan out, who would advance the furthest, etc," Gautam was quoted by DNA.
"It's only after our campaign ended, in this case we won the inaugural season, that we realised our true potential. That said, we have set newer and higher goals.
"We want to retain our title. Doing it once is easy. Doing it a second time is tougher. But we are taking one game at a time. The planning is short term.
"Being the defending champions has made us work harder at the practice sessions as we know the rival teams have improved and will be coming for us."
Their opponents are also looking for the same.
U Mumba raider Jeeva Kumar is looking forward to making a winning start in the tournament, and wants to make the most of the home advantage. The Mumbai side play four consecutive home games in four days.
Prior to facing the defending champions, Kumar stays confident, as he looks for the maximum number of points in their home stretch.
"The wait after almost a year is over. We, the players, could not wait to step on the mat. We have missed it like anything. Fans have been waiting for a long time for the season to start and what better way to start than having the two best teams from last season," said Kumar, who was part of the Indian team that won 2010 Asian Games gold.
"That said, we need this excitement for our home stretch. It's a crucial period and we're looking for the maximum number of points. We came so close last season and with the final once again being held in Mumbai, we owe the fans the trophy."
The match gets under way at 8pm IST.
Where to Watch Live:
Pro Kabaddi League: U Mumba vs Jaipur Pink Panthers, can be caught LIVE on Star Sports.
Hindi Coverage - Star Sports 3, Star Sports HD 3, Star Gold
English Coverage - Star Sports 2, Star Sports HD 2
Telugu Coverage - Maa Movies
Kannada Coverage - Suvarna Plus
Marathi Coverage - Star Pravah (Sunday Matches only)
Live streaming will be available on starsports.com.